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US Department of Education Withholds Ohio Charter School Grant

By Gabriel Kramer

The US Department of Education awarded 71 million dollars to expand charter schools in Ohio last month, but the department announced Wednesday that those funds are being temporarily withheld.

“In a letter to the Ohio Department of Education, the USDOE explained that it has concerns about Ohio’s oversight and accountability of its charter schools.

The letter from Washington acknowledged that it had been informed about the scrubbing of grades by the state’s previous school choice director both before and during the grant’s application process. Now, the federal government wants more information from ODE.

The request includes documentation of any inaccuracies from the grant application, certification that new information is correct, plus state audit reports from the past seven years and other information that shows that it can ensure the integrity of its charter schools.

The Education Department declined to comment beyond the letter, but the Ohio Department of Education said in a written statement:

“We are in ongoing conversations with the USDOE to ensure that our revised evaluation process and other accountability measures fully align with grant requirements and state laws.“

The ODE must complete all requests in thirty days.

Gabriel Kramer is a reporter/producer and the host of “NewsDepth,” Ideastream Public Media's news show for kids.