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Ohio Lawmakers Pass Bill Overhauling State's Troubled Charter School Sector

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Ohio lawmakers have passed a major bill retooling the state's charter school law.

After years of reports ranging from financial mismanagement to poor academic outcomes among Ohio charters, pressure has been building from charter critics and advocates alike to overhaul how the entire sector is monitored.

The bill requires much more in-depth financial and academic reporting from charter schools and management organizations, among many other rules.

It also specifies that any equipment bought by a charter management organization ultimately belongs to the school, not the CMO. That last item was tacked on the bill after the state Supreme Court ruled on a contract dispute in September that several now-closed charter schools must reimburse their former CMO, White Hat Management LLC, for computers and other school supplies, even though the for-profit CMO purchased the equipment with taxpayer dollars.

The House passed the original bill, HB 2, in March. Following a series of amendments, the Senate approved the bill and bounced it back to the House in June where it was tabled for the summer. After a brief stint in committee this week, the bill went to a full vote before both chambers Wednesday. It passed with a strong majority in the House and unanimously in the Senate. 

The bill now heads to Governor John Kasich, who was one of several lawmakers calling for an overhaul of the state's charter law earlier this year.


Photo: Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger speaks during a news conference in Columbus, Ohio. —Andrew Welsh-Huggins/AP-File

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