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Ohio Delegation Crafting Charter Reform At Federal Level

Arise Academy in Dayton is now closed, and former leaders of the school have been convicted of federal crimes.
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Ohio lawmakers at the federal level are working on their own charter school reform proposal. The state passed a measure earlier this month meant to crack down on bad charters.

 

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown says this renewed push for reform comes after the U.S. Department of Education gave Ohio $71 million for its charter school system. He says the Charter School Accountability Act would ensure that money would go to schools with a proven track record of success.

 

“In the last 15 years, state auditors have uncovered some $27 million in improperly spent funds in charter schools in our state alone," Brown said. "Ohio charter schools misspend public money at almost four-times the rate of other types of public sector agencies. Nationally, many charter school people call Ohio the ‘wild, wild west’ of charter schools.”

 

Ohio Department of Education officials have said they submitted the grant application for this funding before School Choice Director David Hansen resigned. Though, State Superintendent Richard Ross says he notified the federal education department about the issue a few days after Hansen left. Some state education officials are still concerned the application included scrubbed data.

Brown and Congressman Tim Ryan have submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Education asking for details about the decision process for this grant. Brown says he’s positive there will be bipartisan support for this reform in the U.S. Senate. The outlook on the House side isn’t as clear.