I am not a fan of sports, despite the best efforts of my father, my friends, and my work colleagues; nor am I a watcher of House of Cards, despite a love of deep and twisty TV generally; nor have I gotten into the reality TV show genre, despite watching hours of commercials for them all over the years.
But, thanks to my work here at the Fordham Institute, I have come upon a real life story that has elements of all these genres and just in time for March Madness it has come down to the wire.
Note: I am indebted to journalists Mark Reiter and Ignazio Messina of the Toledo Blade for diligently following this story and allowing me to vicariously “ride along”.
Horizon Science Academy in Toledo is a K-8 charter school in the downtown area that has been in business since 2011. It has 270 students enrolled this school year and received a D for performance index and an A for overall value-add last year (check out their full report card here). In late 2013, the operators were looking to expand and found a ready-built new home – the building currently occupied by the Toledo area YMCA (gym, services, offices). A deal was struck between the two parties, contracts signed, and then attention turned toward obtaining the required special use permit to allow a school to operate in the building.
The first part of that process required approval from the Toledo Plan Commission,...