Rep. Hambley Announces Passage Of Charter School Reform Bill From Ohio House
Legislation focuses on transparency, responsibility and accountability

During today’s Ohio House session, State Representative Steve Hambley (R-Brunswick) voted in support of House Bill 2, legislation that adds revisions and increased oversight to the state’s charter school system.

“Even supporters of the school choice movement, such as the Thomas Fordham Foundation, recognize that Ohio needs a more rigorous oversight system for charter schools,” Hambley said. “Although House Bill 2 did not go as far as I wished, it is a very good first step in making sure that both Ohio taxpayers and charter school students are protected. Representatives Dovilla and Roegner need to be commended for their tenacity and patience in shepherding this much-needed legislation through a very complicated process. Hopefully, enhancements that move us further toward achieving the goals of transparency and accountability will be identified and enacted in the Senate version. ”

Focusing primarily on issues of transparency, responsibility and accountability, House Bill 2 represents the most comprehensive piece of stand-alone legislation on the subject of charter schools in 12 years, particularly in the areas of charter school governance.

Among the major provisions of the legislation is greatly reducing the potential for conflicts of interests among school sponsors. For instance, the bill prohibits school sponsors from selling goods or services to the schools they authorize, as well as prohibiting employees of schools districts or educational service centers (ESC) from serving on the governing authority of a charter school sponsored by that particular district or ESC.

One of the ways in which House Bill 2 enhances transparency is by requiring charter school sponsors to annually report expenditures that have been made for the purposes of providing oversight or technical assistance to the charters they authorize. Similarly, all governing board members of a charter to disclose transactions made with any immediate relatives or associates who have done business with the school over the past three years.

Other provisions of House Bill 2 include:

  • Prohibiting district school board members from serving on charter school boards

  • Requiring school treasurers to be directly employed by, or under contract to, the charter school governing authority

  • Requiring that a charter school sponsor, as opposed to a contracted agent, meet with the Auditor of State regarding enrollment, financial records and audits

  • Requiring the Ohio Department of Education to publish an annual performance report for all charter schools in the state, to be published on ODE’s website

  • Requiring that contracts between sponsors and charter schools contain performance measures that include state report card measures

  • Requiring governing authority members, administrative and supervisory staff to receive annual training on open meetings and public record laws

Having passed the House with bipartisan support, the bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

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