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charter schools

The former ECOT headquarters in the South Side of Columbus.
Dan Konik / Ohio Public Radio

An educational service center is paying the state back for money it received while sponsoring the now-closed Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow. The settlement is part of a larger lawsuit targeting about $80 million in overpayments to ECOT.

The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, managed by the for-profit Altair Learning Management, was the state's largest online charter school when it shut down last year. ECOT closed owing millions to the state for students it claimed were enrolled.
Dan Konik / Statehouse News Bureau

Ohio's charter schools are by law non-profit, but nearly 200 of them are managed by for-profit operating companies. A new study by an anti-charter school group says charters run by for-profit operators spend a lot more money on non-classroom costs than traditional public schools do.

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A new school funding formula proposed by two state lawmakers would cost a billion dollars more than the current K-12 formula. That proposal also didn't include money for charter schools.

A classroom at Cleveland's John Hay High School.
Ashton Marra / Ideastream

A proposed new school funding formula would cost Ohio $720 million more than the current K-12 budget. But it doesn’t include funding for charter or community schools, which the state spent more than $880 million on last year.

Ohio State Reps. Bob Cupp, R-Lima, left, and John Patterson, D-Jefferson, announce their proposed overhaul of Ohio's school funding formula at the Statehouse in Columbus, Monday, March 25, 2019.
John Minchillo / Associated Press

Ohio would spend about $400 million more on school funding next fiscal year and $320 million more the following year under a proposed overhaul of the funding system, according to estimates shared Friday by lawmakers advocating for the plan.

John Minchillo / Associated Press

In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, Steve Brown and Mike Thompson discuss what a recent poll says about the minds of Ohio voters.  Lauren Copeland, associate director of Baldwin Wallace University's Community Research Institute, joins the show.

Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Lima) watches as Rep. John Patterson (D-Ashtabula) talks about their new school funding formula.
Karen Kasler / Statehouse News Bureau

The Ohio Supreme Court has struck down Ohio’s property-tax based school funding method four times in the last 22 years. Now two lawmakers say they think they’ve finally fixed it with a new school funding formula they say is stable, customizable and transparent.

Kantele Franko / Associated Press

The Ohio General Assembly is exploring its options when it comes to how the state gives money to e-schools. As lawmakers are discovering, though, the issue gets complex when considering the different types of online academies.

Updated at 3:14 p.m.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Republican lawmakers have announced a proposed tax credit that would go toward donations to private school scholarships and other school choice initiatives.

"A great education shouldn't be determined by luck or by address or by family income," DeVos said Thursday at a news conference.

She appeared alongside Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., who said they plan to introduce the tax credit in Congress.

The state says the now-closed Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow still owes tens of millions of dollars for students it didn’t have but was paid to educate. Last year, an audit of what was the state’s largest online charter school was turned over to the Franklin County Prosecutor and the federal government for possible criminal charges.

A Hilliard schools student completes classroom work with an iPad.
Columbus Neighborhoods / WOSU

A new study has found Ohio charter school students aren’t measuring up to their traditional school peers.

Nicole Mays / Flickr

A state audit of a short-lived Columbus charter school finds officials inaccurately reported student attendance and received too much state funding.

A classroom at Cleveland's John Hay High School.
Ashton Marra / Ideastream

House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) says when it comes to changing the funding structure for schools to create direct funding for charters, "I'm not sure if that's even a valid issue to discuss."

Charter school advocates are calling on lawmakers to bump up their funding for facilities. They say the money now going to charters falls well below what they need. But critics say more changes should be made before a funding increase. 

Unlike public schools, Ohio’s charter schools have to find places to hold classes.  Typically, that means renting a building rather than buying one.  A review of charter school leasing practices by outgoing auditor Dave Yost, released before he became Attorney General, found some charter schools are entering lease agreements that are costing them over and above what the private market will bear. 

Complicated leases, with little oversight

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