Ohio Education Gadfly
Volume 3, Number 33
November 30, 2009
Year in Review: Ohio's Charter Schools Under Threat
Ohio charter school sponsors are required by law to submit a report about their sponsorship activities and the performance of their sponsored schools to the state education department by the end of November each year. We try to use this as an opportunity to produce something that is worth reading and that sheds light on charter schools, sponsorship and state policy during the past year. Following is an excerpt from the introduction to Seeking Quality in the Face of Adversity: 2008-09 Fordham Sponsorship Accountability Report, available in full online here.
Governor Strickland’s original version of the state’s biennial budget (H.B. 1) released in February would have, as we wrote for the Akron Beacon Journal at the time, deprived charters “of vital limbs and organs.” It would have severely worsened the funding inequities between charter and district schools. And it would have added greatly to the regulatory burden on all charters – good, bad, and middling.
“Put it all together,” we warned at the time, “and it’s hard to picture any high-octane charter operator wanting to work in Ohio. The operations will instead go to states that welcome and support them. This would be a blow for needy children and families.”
Particularly galling was Governor Strickland’s plan to boost funding for traditional public schools while cutting funding further for charter schools, which already were receiving roughly $2,000 less per pupil than their district counterparts (see Chart I). Such heightened inequities struck us