House Panel OKs New Charter School Regulations

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A bill cracking down on low-performing Ohio charter schools and imposing a host of new accountability standards on sponsors has cleared its first legislative hurdle.

After extensive debate and several rounds of revisions, the Ohio House Education Committee approved the bill 13-6 Wednesday. A House vote could come Thursday.

The legislation requires additional financial, enrollment and attendance reporting from charter school sponsors and requires members of governing boards to file annual conflict-of-interest statements, among many other changes. The measure also prohibits low-performing schools from getting new sponsors.

The proposed reforms follow a study that found Ohio charter schools’ performance results are mediocre and their students, on average, lag behind those of traditional schools.

Backers say the bill begins to address Ohio’s inadequate regulations. Detractors wanted added restrictions on operating companies.