Charter schools at center of complaints to Ohio Board of Ed

Published: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 @ 3:53 PM
Updated: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 @ 3:53 PM


            Dayton charter school under investigation by FBI
Dayton charter school under investigation by FBI

A Dayton charter school raided by the FBI last month now will be the center of an investigation by the Ohio Department of Education after allegations that included student sex acts, attendance rate falsification and test tampering.

Four former employees of the Dayton Horizon Science Academy, 250 Shoup Mill Road, testified in front of the department of education in Columbus on Tuesday and said students engaged in oral sex while others watched.

"I don't think parents had any idea what was going on at the school," said Kellie Kockensparger, who taught at the Dayton charter school for three years before leaving for another Dayton-area teaching job last March.

Kockensparger and another former employee, Richard Storrick, accused the school of allowing sexual activity to occur during classes and other school-related functions.

According to Kockensparger, the school "failed to tell parents that their kids were suspended for having oral sex outside of the building where they were supposed to be inside attending a school-sponsored after-school cultural festival."

The sex acts reportedly were captured on surveillance video, Kockensparger said.

Horizon Science Academy is a public charter school that provides its students with an innovative education, rich in math, science and technology, according to the school's website.

The Dayton Daily News received a written statement from Concept Schools, the parent organization that manages Horizon Science Academy, after the newspaper asked for comment.

"Like any public charter school, we are accountable to the families we serve. As part of that, we prioritize ensuring a school environment that is safe, professional and one that supports students, faculty and staff," the statement read. "As we move forward, we continue to maintain the highest standards of excellence for our students, our faculty and ourselves."

Storrick, who taught math for two-plus years there, said some students participated in a sex game during a middle school math class.

"A sex game was going on while the teacher was trying to teach," Storrick said. "More than once a male student put his hand on a girl's knee and asked, 'are you nervous?' "

If the female student said no, the male student would move his hand up her thigh.

"The game was not a one-time occurrence, yet the teacher did nothing, insisting he didn't know about the game. The school's director was told about the incident, did nothing and rehired the teacher the following year," Storrick said.

The nearly hour-long testimony left some of the state school board members disturbed.

"Inside, my blood is boiling," board member Deb Cain said. "We as a state board and as a department of education, we have got to get to the bottom of this, and every single allegation needs to be investigated to the fullest."

Board President Debe Terhar told the employees who testified that the state will take the allegations seriously.

"We hear you, we will move forward to make sure that this is investigated," Terhar said.

Other former employees, including teacher Tim Neary, said the school is covering up other issues.

"School administrators clearly lied about attendance. I never had a full class and they'd say the school had a 97 percent attendance rate," Neary said. " There was no oversight at all."

Neary also said the school potentially tampered with standardized tests.

"All the tests would go into one room, with an administrator behind a locked door. Nobody else got to see what was going on," Neary told the board.

Horizon Science Academy of Dayton is one of 19 schools in Ohio affiliated with an influential U.S.-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen, and began operating under Concept Schools management in 1999.

On June 4 the FBI served a search warrant in connection to a "white-collar crime," but the bureau did not disclose any additional details about its investigation of the organization.

1 flown to hospital in crash that closes I-75N in Shelby County

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 6:01 PM
Updated: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 6:25 PM

UPDATE @ 6:25 p.m.

The northbound lanes of Interstate 75 are back open at Ohio 274 near Botkins in Shelby County.

The vehicle in the crash is off the side of the highway, but traffic remains backed up.

A medical helicopter took one person to an area hospital.

FIRST REPORT

The northbound lanes of Interstate 75 are shut down this evening near Botkins in Shelby County.

The highway is closed at I-75 N at Ohio 274.

A medical helicopter has been called to the crash scene, and the crash resulted in significant vehicle damage, according to initial reports.

3 hurt after 2 cars, semi hauling cars collide on I-75 S in Tipp City

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 8:34 PM
Updated: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 9:30 PM

FROM SCENE: I-75 in Tipp City closed for crash between semi, 2 cars

UPDATE @ 9:30 p.m.

Two southbound lanes of Intersate 75 in Tipp City are back open following a crash involving a semi hauling new cars and two cars.

A third lane remains closed for road construction.

FIRST REPORT

The southbound lanes of Interstate 75 in Tipp City are closed tonight following a crash involving a semi and two cars.

The highway is shut down just south of exit 68, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Piqua Post.

The crash was reported around 7:45 p.m.

We have a crew on the way and will update this report.

Crews respond to 2 fires this week at same Miamisburg house

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 10:03 PM
Updated: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 12:30 AM

FROM SCENE: One sent to hospital from Miamisburg house fire

UPDATE @ 12:30 a.m. (Oct. 21)

The Miami Valley Fire District responded twice this week to fires at the same East Central Avenue address in Miamisburg.

A kitchen fire reported shortly after 9:30 p.m. brought crews Friday night. A 21-year-old woman was taken to a local hospital as a precaution because she was light-headed, battalion chief Glenn Jirka said.

>>Flames shoot from vacant house in Dayton

The property owner said there was a fire earlier this week to the detached garage, but that she did not want to provide further details about that incident.

Jirka said all fires are considered suspicious until a cause can be determined.

“There was a fire at this same address early this week,” Jirka said. “We’ll be taking a look at that but right now we don’t have any connection; we don’t have any reason to believe there is a connection.”

>>Car gets stuck, ignites after it rear-ends a semi on I-70

The tenants who live in the two units are displaced because of the damage to the dwelling, Jirka said.

UPDATE @ 11 p.m.

A 21-year-old woman was taken to a local hospital tonight to be treated for smoke inhalation.

The property owner said there was a fire last week at the home’s detached  garage, though she would not provide further details about that incident.

The owner of the dwelling in the 700 block of East Central Avenue said there are three people who live on the first floor: an infant, the woman and the woman’s mother. There is one person who lives on the second floor.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, according to the Miami Valley Fire District.

FIRST REPORT

Firefighters were called tonight to a house fire in Miamisburg.

The fire was reported around 9:30 p.m. in the 700 block of East Central Avenue.

According to initial reports, fire was showing from the rear of the two-story house.

We have a crew on the way and will update this report.

1 drug arrest but none for OVI at Dayton checkpoint

Published: Monday, October 16, 2017 @ 5:15 PM
Updated: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 1:45 AM

(Nick Graham/Staff)
HANDOUT/MIDDLETOWN JOURNAL
(Nick Graham/Staff)(HANDOUT/MIDDLETOWN JOURNAL)

UPDATE @ 1:45 a.m. (Oct. 21)

An OVI checkpoint Friday night led to one drug arrest but no arrests for impaired driving.

Dayton conducted two checkpoints, with a combined 251 vehicles that went through the checkpoint, according to a release sent early today by the Dayton Police Department.

>>Flames shoot from vacant house in Dayton

At the checkpoint at East Third and Terry streets, of the 137 motorists there were 11 diverted. Citations issued include six with a suspended license and eight with no driver’s license. In patrols around the checkpoint, there were five traffic stops that led to the drug arrest; one driver with no license and another with a suspended license.

>>Dayton employee fired for moonlighting gets job back

At the checkpoint at South Keowee and East Fifth streets, of the 114 motorists there were seven diverted. Citations issued include three for a suspended license; two for no driver’s license and one driver with temps who did not have a licensed driver in the car. Patrols around the checkpoint led to one stop with a misdemeanor warrant arrest, the release stated.

FIRST REPORT

OVI checkpoints will be held between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. in two Dayton locations.

Police will be out in the area of East Third and Terry streets and Keowee and East Fifth streets.

State law requires law enforcement to announce sobriety checkpoints ahead of time.

The Combined Agency OVI Task Force of Montgomery County will operate the enforcement, according to a statement released Monday afternoon. 

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Lawyer denies mishandling estate

According to the OVI task force, there were 596 alcohol-related crashes in Montgomery County in 2016. 

Fourteen people were killed and 273 were injured in those accidents. 

The majority of the deadliest crashes occur on weekends

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