White Hat Management is one of Ohio’s largest for-profit charter school operators.
In the fall of 2011, it operated 46 schools in six states, according to company materials. The Ohio schools it operates include traditional charter schools as well as online charter schools and charter schools serving students who had dropped out of school.
White Hat is based in Akron and is owned by former manufacturing company CEO David Brennan.
Brennan has played a major role in shaping Ohio education policy. He and his family members have donated millions to state legislators and governors over the past decade. And White Hat lobbyists have played significant roles in shaping Ohio’s charter school policies.
White Hat handles the day-to-day operations of the Ohio charter schools it manages, doing everything from hiring teachers to ordering school supplies.
White Hat has been sued by the governing boards of some of the schools it manages. According to the lawsuit, White Hat collects at least 95 percent of the schools’ tax funding. It also owns everything from computers to student files. The governing authorities of the schools involved in the lawsuit would like to gain access to the materials and equipment and to decide if they want White Hat to continue to operate their schools.
For the 2010-11 school year, no Ohio White Hat school earned higher than the equivalent of a “C” on its state report card. Most were rated “D” or “F.”