For the last year, Central Falls High School in Rhode Island has been under a microscope. Long considered one of the poorest-performing high schools in the state, administrators abandoned a proposal to fire all the teachers as long as they agreed to a so-called "transformation" plan.
Now, as the school year winds down, that plan is in shambles. ...
Gist says the school could eventually be shut down or turned into a charter school.
This year, about 750 Central Falls students attended alternative public schools.
And when the students leave the traditional district schools, so does a chunk of state financing for the district. Central Falls, a $41-million-a-year district paid for entirely by state and federal funds, is facing at least a $3-million cut for the 2011-2012 school year, according to preliminary budget estimates.
The problem is that there are a lot fewer good charter high school operators than elementary and middle, so even if they could come up with a plan to shrink down and split up the district's K-8 components over the next five years or so, the high school situation will continue to be much tougher. Which is why out of all the schools in the state, CFHS's turnaround should have been approached with care and caution, not haste. But that's what happens when you've got an out of state commissioner trying to establish her national rep.