FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Monday night, dozens of Fort Wayne residents filed into the “Globe Room” at the Allen County Public Library Main branch, almost without exception, to oppose a new charter school.

The hearing hosted by the Indiana Charter School Board (ICSB) staff flowed into the hall as the Globe Room didn’t have space to fit everyone. The ICSB board – who makes the final decision on whether or not charter schools get approved – was not present.

The school, planned to be named Fort Wayne Preparatory Academy, would be organized by Fort Wayne Preparatory Academy, Inc. but the education service provider would be ACCEL Schools. The school is eyeing opening for the 2023-2024 school year with 150 students that would otherwise attend a school in the Fort Wayne Community School (FWCS) district.

The full 268-page charter application can be found on the ICSB site here.

Many who objected pointed at ACCEL’s history and low effort preparing to propose Fort Wayne Preparatory Academy, leaving FWCS teacher Kathy Zoucha to say, “I can see why ACCEL is a low performing charter organization, since their paperwork and research was so faulty as is evidenced by the people who testified before me.”

Zoucha, who teaches special education, says of those who missed the meeting, or were stuck in the hallway, “What you missed was an entire community that is against this charter school starting in Fort Wayne… And it was overwhelming, it was everybody who testified said they were opposed to this low performing charter school coming to Fort Wayne.”

Zoucha also had great concern for the kids of closed charter schools in Fort Wayne saying “then we at Fort Wayne Community Schools take those kids back, and they’re lower, they’re behind.”

A mother of twins also spoke. One of her children attended a public school, while the other attended a private school and she claims that the FWCS child was better off with their education. 

The decision to grant the charter will happen on April 28th at the 2022 ICSB Board meeting. Anyone may email for comment or concern before April 21st at charter-applications@icsb.in.gov.