Ohio Department of Education Granted $71 Million for Charter School Expansion

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Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan today asked the US Department of Education to put “stringent restrictions” on the distribution of $71 million in grant money for expanding charter schools in Ohio. Eight states were awarded the federal grant earlier this week, with Ohio receiving nearly $30 million more than the next state – Illinois.

In a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the Congressman said he was concerned about the lack of charter school oversight.  Ryan pointed to the resignation this summer of Ohio’s School Choice Director who admitted to scrubbing failing grades for some charter schools.

“Most tax payers are going to look at that and say, ‘Wow. Look how screwed up that system is. We can’t pass a levy. Our kids have programs that are getting cut in their schools districts. And the feds are sending a bunch of money to a charter school system that has been labeled by the charter school people around the country as one of the worst systems in America,’” Ryan said.

Schools will apply for the grant money which the Ohio Department of Education will distribute over the next five years.  A spokesperson for the ODE said a panel is currently working on best practice recommendations for charter school sponsorship.  Ohio lawmakers are also drafting a charter school reform bill.

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