Jan Resseger explains here why Ohio should not give more money to charter schools and their sponsors (in Ohio, the authorizers of charter schools get a 3% commission for every student enrolled in their charters). Charter authorizers have a financial incentive to keep their charters open, regardless of their performance.

One reason to reject the increase is the charters’ poor performance.

But the most important and persuasive reason to say no is that their funding is money deducted from the public schools, which serve far more students and serve them better than charters.

“Usually arguments about the quality of public investment in charters are about whether charters do a good job as measured by test scores.  Proponents of charter schools typically want the public to evaluate charter schools and traditional public schools by comparing their test scores—despite considerable research over the years demonstrating that the results are, at best, relatively comparable.  Steve Dyer uses the test score yardstick in a recent blog post: “Not only have Ohio charter schools not gotten appreciably better on the report card since… 2015, but since the 2012-2013 school year, charter schools overall have received more Fs than all other grades combined on state report cards.” Dyer doesn’t think these schools are performing well enough to deserve additional tax support….

“Here is an example—this time from Sunday’s Cleveland Plain Dealer—of how reporting on charter school accountability and funding often goes.   As he describes the request for more money from the legislature, reporter Patrick O’Donnell considers the academic record of Ohio charter schools and whether state regulation has improved enough.  O’Donnell begins: “Charter schools in Ohio have long wanted more money from the state, but a history of well-publicized scandals, mismanagement and poor report card grades have made it hard to justify giving them any more tax dollars.  Have they cleaned up their act enough now?”

“Charter schools in Ohio actually want a lot more money per-pupil in the next state budget. O’Donnell reports: “Some charter officials are pressing the state for another $2,000 per student a year for most charter schools in the upcoming state budget. Leading the charge are the Breakthrough Schools, the Cleveland based chain that has the strongest results out of all charters in Ohio. Joining them are the growing Accel Schools chain, which has grown to 40 schools in the state over the last three years.”  Accel Schools is the charter network run by former K-12 Inc., CEO Ron Packard, who expanded his Accel network by buying up Cleveland’s I Can charters along with many of the schools formerly operated by David Brennan, who died last autumn.

“How should Ohio’s policy makers evaluate whether spending tax dollars on charter schools is a good investment?  And particularly in these times when charter schools are asking for a huge bump of $2,000 extra per-pupil? Measured by test scores, and evaluated by their record of conflicts of interest, fraud. and outlandish financial mismanagement, Ohio should not increase public funding for its charter school sector.  But I believe there is a more important—and usually ignored—reason for denying more funding to the privatized charter school sector in our state. Policy makers must begin examining charter schools’ enormous, persistent drain on local school district budgets.

“In Ohio, California, and many other states, charter schools get their funding through a “school district deduction.” Here is how the Ohio Department of Education describes the process of funding (When you read the following language, remember that charter schools in Ohio are formally called “community schools” instead of charter schools.): “Payments to community schools take the form of deductions from the state foundation funding of the school districts in which the community school students are entitled to attend school. Community schools students are counted as part of the enrollment base of the resident school district to generate funding.” The amount taken from the school district budget by every Ohio student who leaves for a charter school is $6,020.  This is known as a “district deduction” system of funding.”

Charter schools want more money but no accountability. They want to harm public schools.

The Ohio legislature should just say no.