Pre-K Building Expansion Update
It’s important that we keep members of the L. Hollingworth School (LHS) family up-to-date on where things stand on key initiatives, including our community development project and new pre-K program.
We were disappointed when Toledo City Council voted not to approve LHS’ request for a Special Use Permit with three waivers to develop nearby properties as the future home of our pre-K program.
Throughout the process to obtain the necessary Special Use Permit, Council member Theresa Gadus — whose district is home to LHS — has led the effort to delay approval and in doing so blocking our progress. Despite our best efforts to address her specific concerns, she has repeatedly refused to explain her opposition to us and has failed to return numerous phone calls from media.
We will never stop advocating for those we serve, and efforts to move the initiative forward will continue in the form of an appeal to the Lucas County Common Pleas Court.
Our project should have moved through the process without controversy given the Toledo City Plan Commission’s recommendation to approve.
We are confident that we will be successful in our appeal. In the meantime, we have already launched our pre-K program serving 14 students within our existing building.
Thanks, as always, for your continued support of the L. Hollingworth School.
Terrence C. Franklin
Founder & Superintendent
LHS’ pre-K plan will benefit its family members, neighbors and the greater Toledo community in meaningful ways:
- Attending preschool sets children up for success throughout their K-8 academic careers (and beyond) – the plan is a natural extension of the LHS mission
- Community development reduces crime, increases property values and creates a sense of neighborhood pride
- Job creation has economic value for families, businesses and government – everyone benefits
Read The Blade’s editorial and several comments made on it on the following pages …
August 25, 2023
THE BLADE EDITORIAL BOARD
There may be a good reason for it, but so far city council has been unforthcoming on why it denied a special-use permit for expansion of the L. Hollingworth School for the Gifted and Talented.
Toledo City Council, by a 7-5, last week voted down a permit requested by the school for a day care and a preschool at Miami and Nevada streets in East Toledo.
It would entail demolishing three homes and expanding the school’s footprint to most of a full block and utilizing a former law office.
The purpose of the expansion is to add a day-care center and a preschool, both valuable purposes in the community. The council member who represents District 3, Theresa Gadus, voted against it and didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment.
In Ohio law, if an applicant meets all the qualifications of a permit, the applicant is entitled to the permit.
The late Louis Escobar, a former city council president, used to preach that council could not deny a permit for anything except a valid land-use-related reason.
There are some complaints from the neighbors about additional parking and traffic problems and the loss of three habitable houses. The Toledo-Lucas County Plan Commission gave its approval, with appropriate conditions. If there are still traffic problems, council might try to mediate those, but there’s been no sign of any action except delay and inaction by council.
It’s true that Toledo needs new housing, but Miami is a busy street that is appropriate for office and commercial use. The site is properly zoned for this million-dollar-plus project.
Possibly, Toledo City Council harbors opposition to charter schools, of which the Hollingworth school is one. The Democratic Party, to which all but one of the 12 councilmen belong, is a staunch opponent of charter schools.
Hollingworth school has been at its location for nearly 15 years, and all under the same leadership, of founder and Superintendent Terrence Franklin.
Hollingworth school performs well compared with the Toledo Public Schools in East Toledo. According to the Ohio Department of Education, Hollingworth’s latest report card showed an Achievement Performance Index of 57.6 percent. All five TPS schools on the East Side have a lower performance index, between 40.1 percent and 52.7 percent.
Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, who came into office with the aspirational goal of creating universal pre-kindergarten, should be intervening to support the project so as to get more preschools into existence in East Toledo.
The proposed project is an appropriate use for the site, and the developers have demonstrated that they are good stewards of their property. The animosity coming out of the neighborhood suggests that the school needs to do some relationship-mending.
No land-use-based reason has been given by council’s no-voters. They’ll need a good one if this rejection gets appealed to Lucas County Common Pleas Court.
Blade readers’ comments made as of 8/25 at 11 a.m.
The Toledo Blade Readers' Forum: Approve school permit. Sunday, August 27, 2023
In response to the story “Toledo council rejects request from charter school” (Aug. 15), members of the board of the L. Hollingworth School are baffled by Toledo City Council’s 7-5 vote denying the request for a Special Use Permit for a community development initiative in support of a new pre-K program.
There is undeniable evidence that preschool sets children up for academic success throughout their K-12 academic careers.
It’s universally recognized that community development initiatives reduce crime and increase property values, both beneficial to Toledo’s East Side community.
The LHS plan clearly aligns with the city of Toledo’s 20/ 20 plan for redevelopment and school accessibility.
Job creation associated with the initiative will provide economic benefits to families, businesses, and government.
The Toledo City Plan Commission, comprised of experts in every aspect of community development and public safety, recommends approval of the school’s request.
For the sake of the children in our community, we petition council members Theresa Gadus, John Hobbs III, Nick Komives, Cerssandra McPherson, Sam Melden, Katie Moline, and Tiffany Preston Whitman to re-evaluate their “no” vote, and in turn vote in favor of the project upon our appeal.
President, Hollingworth school board