Tucked into the very end of that story are a couple of paragraphs about another aspect of the state’s recent efforts to regulate charter schools. Patrick O’Donnell, whose story focuses on the auctioning off of the school’s equipment, explains: “Most of the proceeds should eventually go to the Cleveland school district. House Bill 2 changed state law to make sure that charter school supplies bought with state tax dollars are returned to schools. Most of whatever is left after all school expenses are covered will go to the local school district.”
Ensuring that equipment purchased with tax dollars benefits the public when a charter school is closed is one of the biggest reforms accomplished with our state’s pitifully minimal new regulations. It used to be that the charter management organization got to keep the equipment (or money from sale of the equipment) that the public purchased for the now-out-of-business charter school.
Strengthened oversight is definitely not the whole story of Ohio’s relationship with its charter school sector. The state’s failure to regulate fraud and abuse is typified by the long-running story of the notorious Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, an online academy that continues to operate thanks to the political power and political contributions of its operator, William Lager.