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OHIO: Ohio lawmakers seek to tighten accountability for charter schools

charter-accountabilityCOLUMBUS: House and Senate Democrats will announce legislation Tuesday that aims to increase transparency of public money that private organizations and businesses use in managing charter schools.

Mike Rowe, communications director for the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus, said bills from both legislative chambers will be introduced during a joint news conference at 11 a.m. at the Statehouse.

Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, and Rep. John Patrick Carney, D-Columbus, are expected to introduce separate bills that would require more transparency and tighter accountability for Ohio’s 389 publicly funded and privately operated charter schools, which are projected to receive more than $900 million in state funding that otherwise would flow to locally funded school districts.

The lawmakers will be joined by the parent of a student who attended a charter school.

Ryan Monell, legislative aide for Schiavoni, said the bill is a snippet of more comprehensive charter school legislation that was introduced in September but has failed to gain traction.

“One of the issues you run into with a more comprehensive bill is that people find a hundred different reasons to not sign on,” Monell said.

He and Rowe said that Schiavoni’s bill has a tighter focus.

Rowe said the House bill would give the State Auditor’s Office access to how private — some for-profit — companies spend state tax dollars. The same transparency would be extended to sponsors, which in Ohio authorize and oversee charter schools.

“The sponsors and operators have been hiding behind the fact that they are not public,” Rowe said. “[The bill] changes that.”

Both legislators will be seeking support from Republican leadership from their respective chambers.

Though Schiavoni’s legislation has been in the works for some time, Rowe noted that recent Akron Beacon Journal reports have encouraged lawmakers to renew initiatives to raise transparency and accountability.

“It’s somewhat a response to the series you guys ran last week,” Rowe said during an interview with the newspaper.

Source: Ohio.com – by Doug Livingston

View more articles on Ohio charter schools

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This entry was posted on April 7, 2014 by in Charter Schools, Ohio, States.

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