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Ohio charter schools forum

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Ohio charter schools will receive $900 million in taxpayer dollars this year but they aren't held as accountable as public schools. The topic was discussed at a forum in Youngstown Monday night.

Doug Oplinger, the managing editor of the Akron Beacon Journal, talked about an effort with The News Outlet at Youngstown State University to compile a database on the 400 schools. Journalism students are assisting in gathering information that includes who owns the buildings, school scores, the profits and information about the nonprofits that operate the schools. Oplinger said that they are compiling this information for the public because there currently is not one place to find it all.

"A lot of the folks who are now running charter schools have had a huge say in the politics in Ohio and have managed to get some provisions in state law that allow them to be more flexible, to not have to play by some of the same rules as the public schools," said Oplinger. 

He estimated half of the schools are run by for profit management companies with board members appointed by the companies.

Unlike public school board meetings, he said that charter school boards typically don't meet often and don't publicize their meetings.

The forum was sponsored by ACTION, Youngstown's Mayor and City Council, YCS Board of Education, Youngstown Junior Civic League, YSU College of Education, YWCA of Youngstown, and the Core Team of Union Baptist Church. 
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