Boardman lawmaker seeks more transparency from charter schools - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Boardman lawmaker seeks more transparency from charter schools

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COLUMBUS- Senate Democratic Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) and Representative John Patrick Carney (D-Columbus) say they will introduce legislation calling for more transparency and accountability of Ohio charter schools.
 
The legislation was spurred by an investigation by the Beacon Journal and the NewsOutlet which reported that more than 100 charter schools contacted by the paper failed or refused to provide basic information including school board contact information or board meeting schedules.

In addition, the newspaper also revealed a Northwest Ohio charter school board member said she was unaware of how public taxpayer dollars were being distributed by school operators.
 
"Charters are supposed to follow the same public records and sunshine laws as traditional public schools," stated Schiavoni. " But these reports have exposed problems with transparency and accountability that cannot be ignored. These changes are urgently needed to ensure our school children receive the education they deserve and that tax dollars are not wasted."
 
The proposed legislation, which contains portions of  Senate Bill 190 introduced by Senator Schiavoni in September 2013 would do the following:

  • Require nonpublic operators and nonpublic sponsors of a community school to comply with public records pertaining to all records that deal with the management or sponsorship of the school. 
  • Require a community school to establish a public records commission and public records retention schedule as required by Ohio public schools.  
  • Require the Auditor of the state to annually audit each community school operator and community school sponsor, covering only public funds for nonpublic operators or sponsors

"Ohioans support good public education, but taking money from high-performing public schools to finance unaccountable, under performing charter schools is irresponsible," said Rep. Carney. "The state needs to establish better oversight of charter schools before even more money is misspent. Transparency is crucial to ensure our children get the education they deserve."

The legislation will be introduced this week. Senator Schiavoni has sent a letter to Governor Kasich and will request that the Chairperson of the Senate Education Committee hold hearings on the bill when the Senate returns from spring recess.

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