SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT - Constellation Schools President's Message to Parma Community Parents

SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT - Constellation Schools President's Message to Parma Community Parents
Posted on 01/28/2019
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Following comments made about Constellation Schools and inaccurate school funding information shared by Parma City Schools Superintendent at a community meeting on January 22, 2019, Constellation Schools President Mr. Rick Lukich sets the record straight with this letter to our parents.

Dear Constellation Schools: Parma Community Families,

On January 22, 2019 Superintendent Smialek of Parma City Schools held a community meeting to present the idea of repurposing their current Renwood Elementary school into the Renwood Opportunity Center. As a part of his presentation he referenced Constellation Schools, inaccurately claiming that his district's dire financial condition was because of our school. Rather than taking responsibility for years of fiscal mismanagement and arrogance, he chose to attack our organization and blame parents for choosing the best public education alternative for their children. Instead of addressing the real issues of fiscal irresponsibility and academic underperformance, and identifying a legitimate plan to regain the trust of Parma families, Dr. Smialek spoke of hiring a "Recruitment Specialist" to target our families and attempt to entice them to return to the Parma City School district.

In his haste to point his finger at Constellation and our families, Dr. Smialek presented skewed school funding information claiming his district lost $12.2 million a year to charter schools. What he failed to acknowledge is that charter schools receive no local tax money and receive only the state per pupil foundation funding; that the state money follows the student, so when parents opt for a better public school for their children, those educational dollars go with them; and, that charter schools are forced to operate on significantly less money than their traditional public school counterparts despite the fact that we are both educating children from the same community.

We are disappointed that Dr. Smialek attacked our organization and provided incomplete and suspect information, especially because we have worked cooperatively with his district in the past to ensure that all children in the city have access to an education deemed most appropriate by their parents. In response to Dr. Smialek's claims, we are compelled to once again share these important facts.

  • The 2018 Audit and ODE Funding Report shows that on average Constellation Schools received $8,687 per student compared to Parma City Schools who received $15,485 per student, identified on the Ohio Department of Education Cupp Report. (Multi-year disparities are shared in the full letter and funding report below).

  • Constellation Schools: Parma Community DOES NOT receive any money from local tax levies.

  • Our school has outperformed Parma City Schools on significantly less money.

  • Our organization was nominated by its employees and the Cleveland Plain Dealer recognized Constellation Schools as a Northeast Ohio Top Workplace for 2018.

Our parents have made a choice to enroll their children in our schools for various personal reasons. Parma City Schools problems started long before we opened our Parma school in August of 2000. They have been wasteful and unresponsive to parents. Their last Superintendent could not address a multi-million-dollar error by the Treasurer and the residents of Parma don't trust the district as evidenced by their failed levies and the growth of our school.

Our high quality teachers and staff are exceptionally committed to the success of every student and many of our families share their positive experiences within our buildings. We seek to partner with our parents in the education of their child and have been accountable performing in a financially conservative manner, as Parma residents expect of all their public schools. Our focus remains on providing all children the opportunity to obtain a high quality education in safe nurturing environments.

Richard A. Lukich
Constellation Schools LLC

To view the full letter and funding report, please click the link below.
SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT - Constellation Schools President's Message to Constellation Schools: Parma Community Parents