State Taps Panel to Look at Charter School Sponsors

The Ohio Department of Education is tapping three people to take an independent look at the state’s charter school sponsor system.

Last month, a high-ranking ODE official resigned after omitting F grades on several charter school evaluations.

The panel includes a Canfield-area accountant, a lawyer from Columbus, and Perrysburg Schools superintendent Thomas Holser, who said the group won’t be debating whether charter schools should exist in Ohio.

"They’re here," he said. "The legislature, the state board, yano, support the system that we have."

Instead, they’ll be studying current charter school laws, and the rules that sponsors must abide by.

Hosler said he’d like to see people have more confidence in the state’s charter system, adding the group hopes to do that by tackling three big questions.

"How do we ensure number one that they’re serving students, how do we know that they’re being transparent, and how do we know that the sponsors are being held accountable by what is required by the law," he said.

As the ODE works to create a new system to evaluate charter schools and their sponsors, the panel will report its recommendations directly to the state superintendent.

The department didn’t set a deadline for the group to complete its study.

Hosler said the panel plans to meet for the first time within the next few weeks.

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