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Rep. Hayes votes to send Charter School Reform Bill to governor

| October 8, 2015

COLUMBUS—During today’s session, State Representative Bill Hayes (R-Harrison Township) voted to send landmark charter school reform legislation to Governor Kasich for his consideration.

“House Bill 2 will go a long way toward increasing accountability and transparency in Ohio’s charter schools,” said Rep. Hayes. “Charter school reform has been a top priority in the House, and this legislation will help ensure that the students in our state have access to the educational opportunities that they deserve.”

House Bill 2 increases oversight on Ohio’s charter school system, primarily focusing on issues of transparency, responsibility and accountability. For instance, the bill reduces the potential for conflicts of interest by prohibiting employees of educational service centers (ESC) and school districts from serving on the governing authority of a charter school sponsored by the district or ESC.

Additionally, the legislation increases transparency in the process of reporting expenditures. Sponsors will be required to report expenditures made for oversight or technical assistance to their charters, and sponsor expenditure reports will be part of the sponsor evaluation process. Reforms in the bill also utilize the Ohio Department of Education’s (ODE) website by requiring ODE to maintain copies of school-operator contracts and post them on the department’s website, as well as requiring the department to post an annual operator performance report to the website.

Finally, House Bill 2 enhances accountability measures on charter schools by mandating that contracts between sponsors and charter schools specify performance measures and requires that those contracts include items like criteria for early termination of the contract and stipulations of which entities own facilities and property.

Various changes were made during conference committee that worked to clarify and strengthen the bill. The changes included a measure that gave direction to ODE to use academic performance report card measures, as well as allowing ODE to develop criteria to approve or deny applications for ODE sponsorship. Finally, in regards to a recent Supreme Court ruling, the conference committee amended the bill to clarify that items like furniture, computers and software purchased with state funds by an operator that were paid by the community school is the property of the school.

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Category: Government

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Article contributed to The Beacon.

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