Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Ohio charter-school advocacy group disbanding | The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio charter-school advocacy group disbanding | The Columbus Dispatch:

Ohio charter-school advocacy group disbanding

One of Ohio’s leading charter-school lobbying and advocacy organizations is disbanding after a decade of shaping the state’s charter-school policy. Some say its demise stems from Ohio’s poor charter-school record, which is causing national funders to pull their support.
The Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools announced last week that it will close at the end of the year — even as it put on its two-day convention at the Hyatt Regency Hotel next to the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The event program included a welcome letter from RaShaun Holliman, president of the Alliance since mid-August.
“Please know you have a fighter in me, working hard to make sure that the playing field is made fairer for you and your students,” Holliman said in the written welcoming remarks.
But Holliman already has quit and taken a job with the Ohio Department of Education overseeing charter-school operations. At one time boasting a $1.6 million-a-year budget, the Alliance’s staff has shrunk from eight a year ago to just three.
Though Ohio spends around $1 billion a year on charters, the Alliance couldn’t stay afloat through membership dues because, “traditionally, we have also had the benefit of financial support from private funders,” Chad Readler, chairman for the Alliance’s board of directors, said in a letter to supporters last week announcing the organization’s disbanding. “Changes in funder focus, however, has created challenges for charter membership organizations around the country, including the Alliance.
“As much as we have tried to adapt, and as much as we believe our work has benefited the charter movement, the board of directors has decided that the Alliance is no longer well-positioned to help lead our movement.”
The Alliance once counted on the charter movement’s heavy-hitters, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Gund Foundation, the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation. But its website listed none of those as current funders.
Many charter-school operators have pointed to dwindling national Ohio charter-school advocacy group disbanding | The Columbus Dispatch:

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