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Ohio Association of Public Charter Schools Analysis of

2009 budget for Charter Schools

“And now, a look at changes proposed by Governor Strickland and/or the Democrat-
led House of Representatives which were removed at the insistence of the Republican-
led Senate (to whom charter advocates owe great appreciation):

Community school accountability – Several provisions (related to opening date


exception for dropout recovery schools, submission of corrective action plans to ODE,
and release of student records) were eliminated. (Exempts charters from filing
spending reports on academic improvement and how they spend money, eliminates
proposed requirement for charters to report corrective action plans to sponsors)

Community school consolidation – A provision was eliminated which would have


required ODE to compute aggregate funding for co-located schools as if they were
one school and to pay each school a per-pupil share of the aggregate amount.
(Current law allows two co-located charters to be paid as if they are two schools in
two separate buildings)

Community school on-site evaluations – Provisions were eliminated that would


have required ODE to conduct an on-site visit of each community school at least
every five years to evaluate the school’s operations. (Also would have had the visits
verify data reported to ODE – essentially allowing ODE to do the ECOT-type of
audit of every charter every 5 years)

Teacher qualifications – Eliminated from the bill was a provision which would have
explicitly required community school teachers to be highly qualified in the same
manner as teachers employed by school districts and further requiring community
schools to comply with any other State Board rules (such as those that limit teachers
to teaching in the subject areas of grade levels for which they are licensed). (Still not
adopted)

Unauditable community schools – Language was removed from the bill that would
have made permanent provisions prescribing procedures for the Auditor of State,
community school sponsors, and ODE, with regard to community schools that are
declared unauditable (current procedures will remain, but must be approved by the
General Assembly to continue beyond the current budget bill). (Still uncodified)

Sponsor sanctions – Had this provision remained in the bill, ODE would have been
permitted to impose new sanctions (probation and suspension) against a sponsor prior
to revoking the sponsor’s authority to sponsor. (Later adopted by Republicans
culminating in 2015’s House Bill 2)
Sponsor assurances – Had this provision remained, sponsors would have been
required to provide assurances to ODE that each community school it sponsors is in
compliance with criminal records check and supervision requirements for ALL
employees of private companies under contract with the school. (Remains an
exception to background checks)

Sponsor caps – A provision prohibiting a sponsor from initially entering into a


sponsorship contract with a community school if more than 33 percent of the
sponsor’s existing schools in Ohio are in academic watch or academic emergency was
eliminated. (Modified version later adopted by Republicans in House Bill 2 in 2015)

Prohibition of for-profit operators – Eliminated from the bill is a provision


requiring that operators of community schools be non-profit entities. (For-profit
entities like the one that ran ECOT can continue running charter schools)

Contracts with operators – Eliminated from the bill is a provision requiring that
contracts between a community school and an operator be selected through a
competitive bidding process established by ODE. Another provision was eliminated
which would have required community school sponsors to annually report to ODE
information about operators hired by the schools they sponsor. (Second section
adopted by Republicans in House Bill 2 in 2015)

Operator appeal – This provision, had it remained in the bill, would have repealed
current law that permits a community school operator whose contract will be
terminated or not renewed by the school’s governing authority to appeal the decision
to the school’s sponsor, or in some cases, to the State Board of Education, and
requires the operator to replace the school’s governing authority if the operator
prevails in the appeal. (Later adopted by Republicans in House Bill 2 in 2015)

Sale of school district property – Had this provision not been removed, charter
schools would have been denied the right of first refusal to unneeded or unused
district property in certain circumstances. (Remains in place with a minor change to
prioritize high-performing charter schools if more than one apply)

Design specifications for community school buildings – Thanks to the Senate, a


provision to require all community schools (except e-schools) to meet the School
Facilities Commission’s classroom facility design guidelines was eliminated.
(Charters remain exempt from meeting OSFC classroom facility design
requirements)”