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Report Says Local School Districts Subsidizing Ohio Charter Schools


A new study by an Ohio education watchdog group says local tax revenue is essentially subsidizing charter schools, which are non-traditional schools that are often run by outside groups.

The state’s charter schools have been taking a beating lately. In the last week, multiplestudies have criticized their performance. The most recent report from the Ohio Charter School Accountability Project takes issue with the state’s complicated funding formula.

This year, the state was required to spend $5,745 per charter school student. According to the report, traditional public schools received, on average, around $4,100 for each kid. That’s because the charter school funds are funneled through local districts, but when a kid goes over to a charter, they are guaranteed a certain amount of money. So after a district pays out those charter schools, it’s often times left with less state money for each of its remaining students.

“What that means is that those districts then have to use local revenue to make up that funding difference or come up with cuts at the local level,” said Innovation Ohio Education Fellow Stephen Dyer. Innovation Ohio, which is a progressive think tank based in Columbus, is one of the groups behind the report. The Ohio Education Association (OEA) is the other partner organization. The OEA represents teachers, faculty members and support professionals in the state's public schools, colleges and universities.

In Dayton Public Schools, 35 percent of the money that came in from the state last school year was transferred to charter schools. In Springfield, that number is about 30 percent. About two-thirds of Dayton's public school budget came from the state, and the remaining third came from local property taxes.