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Charter schools not open

While Ohio lawmakers fail to take steps to hold charter schools more accountable for how they use millions of dollars in tax money, evidence mounts that this lax approach yields bad results.

Chiefly, the law allows charter-school boards to contract with for-profit management companies to run the schools and includes too few restrictions on those relationships — restrictions that would protect the public and the state treasury from exploitation.

Among the most outrageous omissions is that those private management companies, which sometimes are contracted to receive more than 90 percent of a school’s tax revenue, are not required to tell the public much about how they spend the money….

Now, a recent investigation by reporters from the Akron Beacon-Journal and a consortium of northeast Ohio journalism schools has found that most charter schools fail to meet their most basic public-disclosure obligations. Reporters or students called 294 of the 393 charter schools in operation at the time of the investigation, and three-fourths of them failed to provide basic information requested by the callers….

The results weren’t encouraging. More than a third — 114 schools — simply didn’t reply to voicemail messages; eight refused to answer anything and seven said they would call back but didn’t . Seventy-three provided some of the information and 80 provided all that was requested.

Ohioans deserve better from organizations spending public money and entrusted with a critically important public service.

By failing to fix Ohio’s flawed charter-school system, state lawmakers provide fuel to those who seek to eliminate school choice altogether.


The Columbus Dispatch