My thanks to Akron Superintendent David W. James for answering the questions that some readers have asked.

And congratulations to superstar LeBron James for supporting public schools in Akron!


I felt compelled to provide some additional information based on some of the responses to your blog that I have read here today.

First, LeBron is a wonderful partner of the Akron Public Schools (APS). The I Promise School (IPS) is a public school. We fund the students like we fund all other students in our district of approximately 21,000 students. The school was not built from the ground up, we are using an existing APS facility that was used to house students while their schools were being rebuilt. By the way, we have rebuilt 32 schools so far.
Students are selected by lottery among students from across the district who perform below the 25th percentile in reading. In addition we have an independent auditor from a local financial services firm observe the randomized lottery process.

While opening a new school will result in adjustments among other schools across APS, this is no different than our National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM Middle and High Schools or our Akron Early College High School, where enrollment is from across the district.

In terms of the teachers, they are union members represented by the Akron Education Association, and I am proud of the fact that we agreed to use an interview process to select them. The District and the Association also agreed to the modified school schedule without contention because it is good for kids.

APS funds this school as we fund all other schools within the district. LeBron and his Foundation partners are funding most of the wrap-around supports and extra services above and beyond what we typically provide. For those of us in the public and not-for-profit sectors, we constantly worry about sustainability.

The free breakfast and lunch meals provided to all APS students are also provided to the IPS students. The bus rides provided to APS students in grades K through 8, who live more than 2 miles away from their school, are provided to the IPS students, in accordance with Ohio law. Our resident students are not charged tuition.

Our partnership with LeBron James goes back over 10 years. His commitment to our children is absolutely genuine.

David W. James, Superintendent
Akron Public Schools