Despite Controversy, $71 Million Grant Awarded For Ohio Charter Schools

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio has received a $71 million federal grant to expand charter schools even as state authorities review possible data scrubbing by a former school-choice director and lawmakers push fixing charter oversight.

The U.S. Department of Education grant announced Monday represents the largest single portion of a new $157 million to expand charter school opportunities. Evaluators found “no weaknesses” in Ohio’s grant application.

Ohio Department of Education spokeswoman Kim Norris said the state made federal officials aware of School Choice Director David Hansen’s departure during the review process. He acknowledged withholding certain failing grades from charter operator evaluations.

Charter opponents – including progressive groups, teachers’ unions and some Democratic lawmakers – questioned the grant Tuesday. ProgressOhio said the money should be withheld until Hansen is replaced with “a highly qualified educator.”