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Deadline Nears for Ohio's New Parent-Trigger Law

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By Karla Scoon-Reid. Cross-posted from the K-12 Parents and the Public blog.

With fewer than 30 days to act this year on a new Ohio law that allows parents to mandate changes at failing schools in Columbus, no one has asked to use the so-called parent-trigger so far.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that StudentsFirst Ohio, the charter advocacy group selected by the Ohio Department of Education to advise parents seeking to use the law, has had no inquiries about the process.  Parents are required to submit petitions to the school district treasurer by Dec. 31 deadline in order to have the process take place in the 2015-2016 school year. 

Ohio's parent-trigger law is currently limited to the Columbus City School District and allows parents whose children attend low-performing schools in that district to petition for sweeping reforms, including asking the state to run the school or converting it into a charter. The Department of Education is required to evaluate whether the parent-trigger law should continue or be expanded statewide six months after the first parent petition is validated. 

The Dispatch also reports that although StudentsFirst's officials promised to serve as a neutral advisor in the process, its director, Greg Harris now says he regrets that the group did not mail informational notices to the parents of the nearly 7,000 students attending the parent-trigger eligible schools. Harris said in the story that the school district did not make a "good-faith effort" to inform parents in those schools about their parent-trigger options. Now he fears the lack of response from parents will fuel critics' efforts to repeal the 2011 law.

The Columbus City School District lists all of its 20 eligible parent-trigger schools on its website and provides parents with links for more information about the law. The district also lists contact information for StudentsFirst.

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