Ohio charter schools could enroll out-of-state students — and charge them tuition — under a provision inserted into the House version of the state budget earlier this month, giving the publicly funded schools another source of revenue.
Traditional public schools can already allow students from other states to enroll. Out-of-state tuition rates are set by state law.
It’s unclear who lobbied for the charter-school budget amendment and which state representative proposed it.
Bill Sims, head of the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools, said his association had not lobbied for the amendment. But Sims said he’s “open to persuasion” on its merits.
The companies that operate some of Ohio’s largest online charter schools already run private schools that are open to students from any state.
For example, Connections Education operates Ohio Connections Academy, a charter school for Ohio students, as well as public schools in other states. It also operates International Connections Academy, a private online school for students anywhere.
Online charter school Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow doesn’t currently run a school for non-Ohioians. But ECOT spokesperson Nick Wilson said the school’s leadership was “intrigued by the idea” of being able to enroll out-of-state students in its existing school:
I don’t know if we would actively market in other states, but it would allow us the flexibility to do so if it made sense. It could give us the ability to create a revenue stream that isn’t state tax-funded and bring out-of-state dollars into Ohio, not to mention we could serve students who need to learn online in areas where it isn’t yet accessible.