Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Egregious Mismanagement of Charters in Ohio Drags On and On | janresseger

Egregious Mismanagement of Charters in Ohio Drags On and On | janresseger:

Egregious Mismanagement of Charters in Ohio Drags On and On, a collaboration of Innovation Ohio and the Ohio Education Association, released a scathing report last week about the waste of millions of dollars in federal Charter School Program grants for Ohio charter schools that soon closed, or worse, never opened in the first place.
Belly Up: A Review of Federal Charter School Program Grants explains that in Ohio, “At least 108 of the 292 charter schools that have received federal CSP (Charter School Program) funding (37 percent) have either closed or never opened, totaling nearly $30 million.” “Of those that failed, at least 26 Ohio charter schools that received nearly $4 million in federal CSP funding apparently never even opened and there are no available records to indicate that these public funds were returned.”  Charter School Program grants are to support the development  of new charter schools, and Ohio has been a big recipient over the years, receiving CSP grants of $99.6 million since the 2006-2007 school year.
According to the new report, federal demands for oversight of Charter School Program grants has been minimal: “Since the grant program started in 1995, the U.S. Department of Education apparently has conducted exactly one examination of Ohio’s grant awards—and that review was contracted out seven years ago to a private education consulting firm called WestEd, which has written many pro-charter school reports.  Not surprisingly though, this 2009 assessment found some serious problems in Ohio. ‘The State needs to strengthen its subgrant application and verification process to ensure compliance with Section 501(c)3 eligibility requirements….’  WestEd was particularly concerned about the for-profit operators acting as the de facto school, even choosing the members of its charter schools’ boards.”  Last week’sBelly Up report adds, however, that in the years since WestEd’s report, “several new charter school laws (most significantly House Bill 2 which passed last year) have remedied some of these concerns. However, Ohio’s history of not allowing the state’s oversight agency—the Ohio Department of Education—to exercise any real, meaningful oversight of the state’s charter Egregious Mismanagement of Charters in Ohio Drags On and On | janresseger:

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