Making Democracy Work

League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area Urges for More Supervision in State-Funded Charter Schools

This letter to the editor was written by the LWVCA Education Committee and sent to the Cincinnati Enquirer and Cox Media on July 20, 2015.

In April, the League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area and eight co-sponsors held a forum in Cincinnati titled "Charter Schools: Are They Accountable?." Approximately 90 people heard panelists reveal the promise of charters offering innovation, competition, and choice, as well as the problems that have risen over the past 15 to 20 years, including charter schools' financial skullduggery, fraud and failure to meet commitments.

This summer, both the Ohio House (HB 2) and Senate (SB148) agreed on legislation to begin the regulation, so badly needed. Yet, Ohio's legislature again postponed, delayed and avoided taking action on charter schools reform when the bill was tabled in early July.

Ohio has around 400 of these publicly supported, tuition-free, independent, and non-sectarian schools. One billion dollars of Ohio taxpayers' money supports them each year. In Cincinnati, almost 20 percent of public school students attend a charter school. Common charter school issues include:

  • low performance on standardized tests, compared to other public school students
  • many inexperienced teachers
  • inept financial management by too many operators
  • weak oversight by the state of Ohio, including nepotism, fraud, and charter school sponsors' lack of control over charter school operators

The bill could be proposed again, after the summer recess ends in September. The League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area urges citizens to contact their Ohio legislators and insist on action to provide the necessary supervision to ensure charter schools' commitments to students are kept.

Tell our elected officials:
1) to enact effective provisions to improve charter school performance, as well as accountability and transparency to the taxpayers, who pay for them, and the parents, who have entrusted their children with them.
2) to monitor, more closely, the spending of tax dollars by charter schools.

Burton Roehr
Education Committee Chair
League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan, grassroots political organization that works at the local, state, and national levels. Our mission is to encourage informed and active participation in government, to work to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and to influence public policy through education and advocacy.