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Ohio Senate Takes Up Charter Reform

State Senator Peggy Lehner heads the Senate Education Committee.
Flickr/Creative Commons

 Now that the Ohio House has passed a bill aimed at reforming charter schools, the Senate will take up the issue. The head of the Senate Education committee says she is deeply concerned about the number of poorly performing charters.

The House bill would stop charter sponsors from selling services to the schools they oversee; the Senate is expected to go further and lay out the duties and limits of both sponsors and the operating companies who manage the schools.  

“I think there’s going to definitely be a close look at who is sponsoring and what their duties are,” said Senate Education Committee Chairman Peggy Lehner. She says she wants to look at best practices around the country, because Ohio charters rank below most of the nation.

The Republican chairman says most states don’t have for-profit operators as Ohio does, and many of those companies here are also major campaign donors.  She notes that some successful non-profits seem to be avoiding Ohio.

“Overall these schools that are doing best around the country don’t want to come to Ohio.  We need to find out why,” said Lehner.

Democrats in the Senate want annual state audits of charter sponsors and operators.

CORRECTION: Due a technical error, a previous version of this story attributed it to WYSO. The story was reported by Andy Chow of the Statehouse News Bureau.