Accountability is necessary. Sustaining excellence is the goal!
The recent examination of Choices and Passages data for the 2010-2011 academic year by the Ohio Auditor of State found that Canton City Schools made errors defined as scrubbing. We understand the importance of accountability and know Canton City Schools will correct all errors. However, the audit findings do not reflect the widely acknowledged success of these programs housed in the Canton City Schools and serving Canton City, North Canton, Jackson, Lake and Plain.
Choices Alternative School - founded in 2000 following thorough research by a community commission chaired by Timken Company Vice President James Gresh - addresses the needs of students ages 17-22 who drop out or are at risk of dropping out. Flexibility is the hallmark of this program that accommodates the myriad of challenging circumstances causing students to drop out of their home high schools and drop in and out of Choices. Districts participate knowing their graduation rate will reflect the initial drop out occurrence. Canton City participates knowing their district's graduation rate will be penalized each time any Choices enrollee drops out.
The evidence may be seen in Canton City's 2010 graduation data reported on the 2010-11 Report Cards: McKinley (91.8%), Timken (87.7%), Canton City Digital Academy (67.3%), Choices (41.9%). The overall district graduation rate, when encompassing alternative programs, is reported at 80.1%. That's the cost. Yet, the program has been sustained by the community for 13 years.
Why? What is the benefit? Since 2000, there have been 710 additional Choices high school graduates from the five districts in Stark County. Those graduates will earn an average of $7,743 more in annual income, contributing $5,497,530 to the community each year. That's the return.
Passages School, founded in 1996, serves the needs of high school students from the 5 districts who have been expelled or are at risk of expulsion. The intensive credit program provides Passages students with new learning pathways in a safe, supportive atmosphere. They return to their home high schools with additional credits, prepared to succeed and graduate. The program has been sustained by the community for 17 years.
Choices and Passages have provided tremendous benefit to the students, their families, and our community. The measure may be found in dollars and in well-being. Stark County is committed to the future of these programs.
 Yost, David, Statewide Audit of Student Attendance Data and Accountability System, p.1. Definition: This report defines scrubbing as removing students from enrollment without lawful reason,regardless of motivation. The term does not necessarily imply malicious intent.
 US Census 2011 American Community Survey on Income and Education Attainment for Stark County.