2019 Briefing for Ohio Legislators

2019 Briefing for Ohio Legislators
Posted on 03/26/2019
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To: Ohio's Elected Officials
From: Supporters and Board Members of Constellation Schools

2019 Briefing for Ohio Legislators

Thank you for your service to the people of the State of Ohio. We are some of the Board members and supporters of the network of Constellation Schools that have provided education services to our families for over twenty years in Cuyahoga and Lorain counties of Ohio.

The “Briefing for Ohio Legislators” outlines facts about Constellation’s schools, clarifies public charter school overall performance in Ohio, and highlights funding discrepancies that negatively affect Ohio’s students. We respectfully ask that you consider ideas to correct the funding discrepancies, and enact legislation to address the issues.


Richard A. Lukich       Thomas F. Babb       Rebecca L. Keeney
President   Chief Financial Officer   Executive Director

Daniel Ziemba, Board President
John Noga, Board President
James Tortelli, Board President
Mark Stypczynski, Board President

Donna Stelter       Mary Wideman       Donna Reindel       Theresa Smith
Charles Ledger   Leo Tischer   Deborah Callen   Jackie Grimm
Rodney Spencer   Bert Butts   Lori Hoefs   Jerry Hilinski
Bogusia Chmielewski   Jerry Bednar   Greg Kozarik   Gary Coupe

Students at Constellation Schools

  • Over 21 years serving students and families in Cuyahoga and Lorain counties of Ohio

  • 15 high performing charter schools

  • 650 employees ~ Serving just under 5,000 students

  • Student population: 47.99 % minority, 67.16 % low income

  • Constellation Schools 2018 Cleveland Plain Dealer Top Workplace

  • Constellation Schools: Elyria Community – ODE Momentum Award, 3 consecutive years (one of two schools in all of Lorain County)

  • Constellation Schools: Westside Community School of the Arts – National Award Recipient, National Charter Schools Institute 2018, 2019

  • Constellation Schools: Westside Community School of the Arts – Cleveland Hopkins International Airport's Youth Art Gallery Winners 2018, 2019

  • Constellation Schools: Parma Community High – 2014 Academic Challenge Winner

  • Constellation Schools: Parma Community – Multi-year Robotics Club

  • Constellation Schools: Westpark Community Elementary – Received Overall "A" Award 2017-2018

  • ODE FTE Review Auditors routinely compliment the files and process across all Constellation School

  • Constellation Schools established a scholarship fund for our graduating HS seniors awarding over $64,000 in scholarships for the past eight years

  • Constellation Schools: Stockyard Community Elementary recognized as Ohio Coalition for Quality Education "2018 School of Excellence"

  • Constellation Schools: Parma Community recognized as Ohio Coalition for Quality Education "2018 School of Excellence"

  • Constellation Schools: Elyria Community recognized as Ohio Coalition for Quality Education "2018 School of Excellence"

Constellation Schools Results
As indicated on the Ohio Department of Education 2018 School Report Cards, Constellation Schools have outperformed or have done equally as well as the districts in which they are located.

% of Schools Ranked A or B in Progress (source: ODE 2018) - Constellation vs. other schools in Ohio Performance Index 2018 - Weighted Constellation Score vs. City School District

Service Providers
Constellation Schools provide high quality education complimented with trauma sensitive learning environments, offering programs to meet the holistic needs of all students. Service providers across our schools include School Counselors, School Psychologists, Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists and School Nurses to ensure that the needs of the whole child are met. Our educators are supported by a team of Technology Integration Coaches, Instructional Coaches and Special Education Coaches to assist in classroom instruction.

Programs that are being implemented and demonstrate effective results include:

  • PBIS (a system of universal supports for all students and targeted interventions for students who have additional social/emotional/behavioral needs)

  • Response to Intervention (a tiered model of academic interventions providing increased supports and progress monitoring for students who fall below grade level)

  • Comprehensive School Counseling Program which provides instruction in social/emotional learning for all students, targeted small group supports and individualized interventions

  • Special Education and related services are provided to all students with disabilities who are found eligible for school-based services

Constellation Schools is proud to offer high quality educational options for students and parents who are seeking safe environments where staff and students work together to build a community of lifelong learners.

Our Funding
Although many public charter schools outperform local districts, they receive only about 2/3 of the funding traditional districts receive. According to the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Cleveland charter schools receive 36% less per pupil funding than public district schools.

In addition, Ohio’s public charters receive only $200 per student in facilities funding, and receive only 25% of the targeted assistance funding that districts receive – funding specifically set aside for low-income students.

Funding of Public Schools in Cleveland - Cleveland Public District Schools vs. Cleveland Public Charter Schools Targeted Assistance Per Student - Cleveland Public District Schools vs. Cleveland Public Charter Schools

Facilities Cost Per Student

Doing what is best for Ohio’s students and families
We hope that this year’s budget will provide increased support to quality public charter schools that outperform their local districts. These adjustments are fair and allow quality public charter schools to better serve Ohio students. In addition to the budget improvements, we capture two other areas of inequitable funding, proposing the following.

Increase Per Pupil Facilities Funding
Adjust Charter Facilities Funding from $200 per student to $1,000 per student (actual cost per the Thomas B. Fordham Institute).

Equalize Targeted Assistance Funding
Ensure public charter schools receive Targeted Assistance Funding at the same rate as local districts. Currently public charter schools receive only 25%of these funds. Increase the funding to the full local district amount of 100%.

While these adjustments do not lead to full equitable funding between high-performing public charter schools and local districts, they begin a forward movement so that Ohio can do what is best for our students and their families.

Constellation Schools – Other Financial Facts

  • As a for profit management company administrative costs to our schools is under 14.25%

  • Services provided encompass: Human Resources, Payroll, Finance, Technology, Facility Maintenance, Safety Compliance-Resource Officer Alignment, Marketing/Public Relations, Overall Regulatory Oversight/Compliance

  • All of our annual audits have received unqualified opinions (the best possible) by the Auditor of State.

  • We have assisted our schools in purchasing the buildings they are located in. Only 2 are leased.

  • Over the past 5 years, benefits costs have seen a proposed increase as high as a 28.3%. We have worked extensively to keep health care costs down for our employees while still providing quality benefits.

  • Our employee engagement surveys cite the number one topic of dissatisfaction and reason for leaving their Constellation Schools job is being that of pay, a result of funding.

  • Unfunded mandates by the legislature have negatively impacted our finances and our ability to provide every student with the high quality education he/she deserves.

  • Sponsor compliance requirements include over 225 regulatory components to be completed either monthly/annually.

For Questions & Contact
Richard A. Lukich

To download a copy of the 2019 Briefing for Ohio Legislators, please click below.
2019 Briefing for Ohio Legislators