Ohio’s charter school law was enacted 20 years ago, in 1997. I worked with some of the first charter schools back in 1999. Since that time, we have seen the charter school landscape grow and these publicly funded, tuition-free schools have provided unique educational opportunities for tens of thousands of students across the state.
Charter schools are an extremely important part of Ohio’s K-12 public education system and the choice of thousands of parents seeking the best learning opportunities for their children. Yet, there are many misperceptions about charter schools and the level of accountability to which they are held.
Below are just the facts:
• Charter schools are public schools.
• Charter schools are subject to oversight and monitoring by sponsors (authorizers as referred to elsewhere). Sponsors must be approved by, and are accountable to, the Ohio Department of Education.
• Charter schools are non-profit entities, governed by non-profit boards – including those that contract for services with non-profit or for-profit management operations.
• Charter schools are subject to Ohio’s open meetings laws and ethics laws.
• Charter schools can be closed by their sponsors (authorizers) for health and safety violations, fiscal mismanagement or poor academic performance.
• Charter schools are subject to annual audits by the Auditor of State or their designee.
• Charter schools are required to administer the same state assessments as traditional public schools.
• Ohio charter school teachers must be licensed and highly qualified.