State Senator Larry Obhof (R-Medina) announced that the Ohio Senate has unanimously passed a comprehensive charter school reform bill to improve governance and accountability standards and increase transparency through new reporting requirements.
House Bill 2 strengthens the requirements that community school sponsors must abide by in order to operate in Ohio. A new rating system will be implemented to prohibit sponsors with a rating of "ineffective" from sponsoring additional schools. Sponsors rated "exemplary" for two consecutive years will be given the opportunity for further growth, incentivizing quality sponsorship. A new rating of "poor" will be a part of the system.
"This bill protects parents' right to choose the best educational opportunity for their children while requiring high standards for Ohio charter schools," said Obhof, who co-sponsored the bill. "This will simultaneously strengthen schools and hold them accountable for their use of taxpayer dollars."
Sponsors will annually report in detail a list of expenditures to both the Ohio Department of Education and the schools it sponsors. This ensures financial and regulatory transparency and will impact sponsor ratings. Poor performing schools will not be allowed to enter into contracts with new sponsors unless the sponsor is rated "effective" or higher. Independent governing authorities will be monitored to ensure that proper financial disclosures are made and ethical standards are upheld.
"Quality is what matters most and this bill will provide quality educational opportunities for these students," said Senate Education Chairwoman Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering). "I am confident that the work we have done in this bill offers us the opportunity to be proud of the charter school system in Ohio."
The passage of House Bill 2 by a vote of 32-0 follows months of intensive work carried out by Senate Education Chairwoman Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) and Education Finance Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Hite (R-Findlay). The Senate unanimously passed H.B. 2 in June before the bill was sent to the Committee on Conference. It now goes to the governor for his signature.