Taxpayer Dollars Must Not Be Wasted On Failing Charter Schools
by State Representative David Leland
I introduced HB 220 to improve charter school transparency and accountability by permitting the state auditor to track all taxpayer money received by the private, for-profit schools. I did this to shine a light on how charter schools spend taxpayer dollars, which has become even more critical after the ruling last week that ECOT, Ohio’s largest, failing online charter school, misappropriated at least $60 million in taxpayer funds by falsely inflating student attendance.
Ohio taxpayers deserve a full and complete accounting for every one of their hard-earned dollars invested in education, whether the money is directed to public school districts or charter schools. Charter schools and their management companies shouldn’t be able to hide their spending of public funds behind closed doors. This bill will close that loophole in state law and help ensure charter schools in Ohio operate in a transparent, accountable manner.
This legislation clarifies that money charter schools receive from the Ohio Department of Education are public funds, and remain public even in cases where charter schools use the taxpayer dollars to pay management companies to oversee daily operations. The state funds charter schools receive would be subject to the same requirements related to permissible expenditures and auditing by the state auditor as state funds allocated to public school districts.
Given the fact that Ohio is in the middle of an almost one-billion-dollar budget shortfall, it is now more important than ever to make sure taxpayer dollars aren’t wasted or misused.
Representative David Leland has lived in the 22nd Ohio House District for more than 47 years. He has always been committed to making this north Columbus community a better place to live and work.