Sub-bill is a bonanza for charter schools and their supporters

We all knew that the House Republicans loved themselves some charter schools but looking at the amendments included in the substitute budget bill it is clear that David Brennan and his community school cohorts hit the mother load yesterday.  This bill is stuffed to the gills with little favors thrown to community schools and their supporters. In the coming days we will have more in-depth analysis regarding these provisions and their impacts, but to start off we wanted to post some of the more egregious (and there are a lot) amendments regarding charter schools that are in this bill.  It will take some time to hash out the total impact that this changes will have on public education in Ohio but at first glance it is clear House Republicans would prefer Ohio students went to failing charter schools taught by teachers who earn measly salaries.
  • Generally prohibits community school employees from collectively bargaining
  • Removes the Governor’s proposal prohibiting a community school sponsor that has one or more schools in academic watch or academic emergency on the provisions effective date from sponsoring additional schools and to prohibit the school’s operator from operating additional schools
  • States that a community school building is the same as a public school building and is exempt from paying property taxes. Allows more than one community school to operate in one building, and reinstates the e-school moratorium
  • Specifies that community schools cannot be required to comply with any law or rule that is not specified in Chapter 3314 of the Revised Code or in its contract or that does not otherwise apply to chartered nonpublic schools
  • Increases the value of the Cleveland Voucher Program to the save level as the EdChoice Scholarship Program. Increases the foundation funding level by $5 million for this purpose
  • Raises the cap on the number of schools a sponsor can operate to 100
  • Permits the establishment of hybrid community schools that provide both remote, technology-based and classroom based instruction. Permits existing community schools to restructure themselves as hybrid community schools.States that a hybrid community school is not an e-school
  • Permits a person age 22 to 29, who does not have a high school diploma or a certificate of high school equivalence, to enroll free of tuition for two additional years of instruction at a community school in the school’s dropout prevention and recovery program. Permits a community school to receive state funds attributable to students ages 22 to 29 who are eligible to attend school free of tuition under the amendment, from funds specifically appropriated for that purpose
  • Requires ODE to pay community schools for serving children with disabilities regardless of whether a child enrolls in a community school after the federal reporting date of December 1
  • Exempts e-schools from immunization requirements and other community schools from BMI testing
  • Authorizes “entities” and “groups of individuals” to form community schools and authorizes a community school to be established as a for-profit of LLC.
  • Revises the current law granting community schools a right of first refusal to purchase school district real property by requiring school districts to offer the property for sale (1) by public auction (2) to all community schools, not just start-up schools located within the school district territory, and (3) to their operators and to persons or entities in lease agreements with community schools
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  1. It’s so egregious, it’s hard to know where to start, but let’s go first to the dropout recovery program, which allows charters to enroll public school dropouts UP TO AGE 29 in their programs. The public school district is still on the hook for paying for a kid to attend the charter, potentially 10 to 15 years after they actually attended a school in that district. White Hat’s David Brennan runs Life Skills Centers, which are notorious for not providing information about their students test scores, likely because they enroll the kids who never actually show up for class. All the while draining the money from the public school district.

    So now we are handing Brennan and his Life Skills Centers EIGHT MORE YEARS of eligibility for these dropouts to sign up, never show up for class, and result in a big payday for the school and it’s for-profit operators, all at the expense of local taxpayers? AWESOME!!

Trackbacks

  1. In the budget: charter schools cash in on dropout recovery programs | Ohio Budget Watch
  2. Changes made to charter schools will make Ohio a “laughingstock” | Ohio Budget Watch
  3. Amendment Watch: 200 more amendments under review | Ohio Budget Watch

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