In 2015, educators and fiscal watchdogs in Ohio were outraged to learn that Ohio had won a federal grant of $71 million from the Obama administration to expand its “high-quality” charter schools. At the time, Ohio was known for its many low-quality charter schools. However, seven years later, the state has spent only $8 million of that $71 million.


Stephen Dyer explains: Ohio has so few high-quality charter schools that it can’t spend the money it won.

Seven years after that grant, Ohio’s had to send back a bunch of the money and has only spent $8 million of it.

Unsurprisingly, Ohio’s had a really tough time handing out money to this ill-fated program. Why? Because the money has to go to “high-performing” charter schools — of which Ohio has precious few.

Only 5 of the approximately 330 Charter Schools that were in operation during any one of those grant years, received federal money to expand because of their quality. Only 26 would even qualify for the money today. Out of 331 Ohio Charter Schools. 

One would think after 25 years, you’d get more than 7.9% of these schools annually to be “High Quality”...

Curious about what percentage of Ohio’s local public schools would qualify as “High Quality” under the state’s Charter School definition?

Me too. 

It’s about 3 out of every 5 Ohio public school buildings. Ohio’s major urban districts? Try more than 1 in 5 of those buildings. In Akron, it’s nearly 1 in 3 buildings.

Again, by comparison, only 1 in 13 Ohio Charter Schools qualify. 

Ohio’s had 638 Charter Schools that have operated at any time in this state. And only 5 of those got any of the $71 million in federal money designated in 2015 to expand the state’s “high-quality” Charter Schools.