Xenia STEAM school delays opening until ’23-’24 school year

Xenia's new STEAM school is delaying its opening date until the 2023-2024 school year. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

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Xenia's new STEAM school is delaying its opening date until the 2023-2024 school year. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

The Xenia STE(A)M school will not be opening its doors for the 2022-2023 school year, after delays in getting necessary materials and lack of staffing prompted administrators to push back the start date.

“As a result of several major setbacks beyond our control in recent weeks, the Board has decided it will not be able to fulfill CSA-Xenia’s mission effectively this year and will delay opening until the 2023-24 school year,” the school announced last week. “This difficult decision was the result of a variety of unforeseen factors related to the current economic climate and lingering effects of the pandemic.”

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Those factors include inflation and supply chain issues, as well as health ramifications from the pandemic. Several vendors of school supplies told administrators they couldn’t guarantee that equipment would be shipped in time for the fall — everything from chairs to robotics and maker-space equipment, school founder Jeremy Ervin said. Additionally, several potential staff members withdrew their names from consideration, citing health or family reasons, Ervin said.

“Those factors have caused a ripple effect in other areas, ranging from securing the appropriate technology and furnishings to staff health and relocation issues,” he said. “It got to the point it became less and less likely would be able to have everything ready and open.”

The board was to approve final staff contracts this month.

Previously admitted students will not need to re-apply for the 2023-24 school year, but school officials ask that parents of admitted students confirm their continued interest.

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The school had planned to begin classes with grades 6-10, then gradually expand enrollment to host grades 11-12, then eventually grades K-5 in the former East High School building on Market Street. Thus far, the board has made no decision to change this academic rollout, but rising 10th graders who will be aging out of the program will be brought into the conversation, Ervin said.

School officials said they are available to work with families and direct them to state resources. Details on future schedules, applications, and grade-level rollouts will be shared on the school’s website and Facebook page as soon as they are available, officials said.

“The decision to delay the opening of CSA-Xenia until the fall of 2023 was a difficult one for the entire Board of Trustees. We were on the brink of finalizing our teacher and staff hiring process when a cascade of circumstances beyond our control pulled the rug out from under us,” said Board Chair Dr. Robert Chasnov in a statement. “Our support for Dr. Ervin remains unfailing, and we have no doubt that CSA-Xenia will become the model for K-12 education for years to come..”

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Like the Dayton Regional STEM School or Global Impact STEM School in Springfield, CSA-Xenia is a tuition-free public school open to any student in the state.

Parents can also visit the Ohio Department of Education website to learn more about options for the 2022-23 school year.

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