Eye on Education


White Hat management is named for the white hats founder David Brennan is known for wearing.

White Hat Management: Ohio Charter School Giant


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.”

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 Supreme Court Hears Case Against Charter School Operator White Hat

The Ohio Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case that could change the nature of many charter schools in Ohio. Board members of 10 such community schools filed suit against their own management company arguing for more transparency on how the money they get from the state is being spent.

White Hat And Other Charter Operators May Benefit From New Funding

Ohio’s dropout recovery charter schools may get their way after all since a committee of lawmakers re-inserted a provision of an education bill that would give them state funds to educate older students. The funds would become available as part of a Kasich administration initiative that will provide state education dollars to help adults age [...]

Online Charter Schools Could Split in Two, Avoiding State Cap on New Schools


Dan Honda / Contra Costa Times/Landov This fall Ohio will lift a moratorium on the creation of new online schools, allowing up to five new online schools to open. But a provision inserted into the House version of the state budget earlier this month could expand online education in Ohio even further. Under the provision, Ohio’s existing online schools could [...]

Court of Appeals Rules White Hat Should Open Its Books – UPDATED

In a decision this week, the Franklin County Court of Appeals reaffirmed an earlier ruling demanding that White Hat Management, one of Ohio’s largest charter school management companies, disclose its financial records. Judge Julia Dorrian wrote the decision on behalf of the three-judge appellate court.

Ohio Online School Students Form Online Chorus

Three OHDELA students sing together in an OHDELA conference room earlier this fall.

Diana Newlon sits on her living room couch leading chorus practice. With her laptop balanced on one arm of the sofa, she looks at a screen full of videos of girls singing Jingle Bell Rock. Each girl is in her own little square, arranged Brady-Bunch credits style on the screen. Newlon teaches at the Ohio [...]

Ohio, Now With 28 New Charter Schools

Marjie Kennedy / Flickr This school year, Ohio students are attending 28 brand-new charter schools. The new schools include some that blend online and classroom learning as well as two overseen by the Ohio Department of Education’s new sponsorship department. This year’s crop of 28 schools is down from 39 new charter schools opening in 2010-11, the [...]

Charter School Management Company White Hat Developing New School Model

The Akron Beacon Journal’s John Higgins reports that Akron-based charter school management company White Hat Management is developing a new type of charter school. The new model, called “Act Academy,” will be a K-8 school focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics: “It’s a combination of a STEM school, a Montessori school and a project-based learning [...]

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