Eye on Education


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The World of Ohio Charter Schools


Charter schools, known in Ohio as community schools, are publicly funded primary and secondary schools. They are considered public schools, so tuition is free. However, they have more flexibility in how they operate than traditional public schools. In Ohio, a charter school is operated under a contract with a sponsoring entity.

Approximately 95,000 of Ohio’s 1.8 million students were enrolled in charter schools in the 2010-11 school year.

Charter schools have been a source of conflict among Ohio’s educators and policymakers. Some champion charter schools as alternatives to struggling urban districts around the state and as an option for parents seeking schools that best suit their children. Others say charter schools siphon funding from local public school districts and do not offer students a better education.

In the 2010-11 school year, Ohio had 326 operating charter schools. Some were part of larger networks of schools run by a single operator. That operator can be for-profit or non-profit. White Hat Management, for example, is a for-profit company that runs about 50 schools around the state. Others schools are operated by their local school districts or groups focused on a single charter school.

Latest Posts

Ohio Supreme Court Rules Against Charter Schools in Operator Case

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled against 10 charter schools that sued their operator over school property that was purchased with state funds. The ruling said that schools are obliged to buy back computers, desks and other equipment that their operator White Hat Management had bought with money it received from the state. In the [...]

State Taps Panel to Look at Charter School Sponsors

BILL RICE / STATEIMPACT OHIO The Ohio Department of Education is tapping three people to take an independent look at the state’s charter school sponsor system. Last month, a high-ranking ODE official resigned after omitting F grades on several charter school evaluations. The panel includes a Canfield-area accountant, a lawyer from Columbus, and Perrysburg Schools [...]

Auditor Says Half of Student Population at Dayton Charter School Was “Fraudulent”

KRISTIE WELLS / FLICKR A special audit has found that a now-closed Ohio charter school padded its rolls by nearly half, bringing it more than a million dollars in state funds it shouldn’t have gotten. State Auditor David Yost said that General Chappie James Leadership Academy near Dayton reported having 459 students in attendance, but [...]

State Suspends Four Northeast Ohio Charter Schools

Jenlight / Flickr Four Northeast Ohio charter schools have been suspended. The Ohio Department of Education sent letters to administrators from Cleveland’s Villaview Community School, Imagine Cleveland Academy, and Cleveland Community School, along with Canton’s Imagine on Superior Academy, letting them know the decision came down after state officials determined the schools weren’t meeting the [...]

Gov. John Kasich’s Stance on Charter Schools

STOCK NEWS PHOTO / IDEASTREAM Right from his very first term, Kasich made his views on school choice–including charter schools–very clear. “More choice, more accountability, more dollars in the classroom instead of bureaucracy will improve our schools, and we are going to have a significant reform agenda,”  he said in his State of the State [...]

Allegations Against Charter School Raise Questions about Tracking Online Truancy

FREEFOTO / FLICKR Allegations that an online charter school may be getting paid for hundreds of students who haven’t logged-on in months has fired up the debate about how to track schools that don’t have classrooms, but do get millions in state funding. The two ranking members on the Ohio House Education Committee each got [...]

House Bill Reforms Charter Schools, Critics Say Bill Falls Short


Brian Bull / ideastream The House is taking a shot at reforming charter schools in Ohio. While several Republican leaders are praising the bill as comprehensive — others believe the legislation falls short. When newly elected House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger addressed the media earlier this year to lay out his legislative priorities—reforming charter schools was [...]

Ohio’s Charter School System Still Needs Work, Progressive Think Tank Says

COMEDY_NOSE / FLICKR Ohio’s first charter school opened nearly twenty years ago–but Innovation Ohio’s education policy fellow Stephen Dyer said it’s only recently that the attitude around the publicly funded, privately run schools has begun to shift. “I think people are just starting to recognize, ‘look, charters aren’t going anywhere, let’s make sure we have [...]

Former House Speaker Works for Charter Conglomerate

Cliff Rosenberger on stage at City Club.  Former House Speaker Bill Batchelder, with blue tie, in audience.

Charter school advocates speaking at the University of Colorado over the weekend took aim at several underperforming charters school operators in Ohio. They mentioned White Hat Management and  the online conglomerate Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow or ECOT. ECOT recently hired the lobby firm of William Batchelder, the former Speaker of the House. Batchelder insists he won’t [...]

Charter Critics Offer Praise


Brian Bull / ideastream Ohio leaders are taking steps to reform the state’s charter school system. There are two plans out there right now that could expand accountability– and a big critic of charters actually calls the plans a positive step.

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