House Bill 2 (R-Roegner/Dovilla) is a package of charter school reforms introduced by House Republicans this week. Separately, Governor Kasich has outlined a set of charter school reforms as part of his biennial state budget proposal. The Governor’s plan includes penalties for charter sponsors with low ratings on Ohio’s new sponsor rating system, but also would allow sponsors with the highest rating (“exemplary”) to seek a property tax levy from voters to pay for operations. Charter school reform is also high on the agenda of Senate Education Committee Chair Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering).
The OEA welcomes the introduction of House Bill 2. The bill focusses on strengthening the laws on charter sponsors, which is certainly needed. But there is more work to be done to make sure that comprehensive charter school reform that benefits Ohio’s students and taxpayers is achieved. One of the problems with the current system is that too much money is going to poor performing charters at the expense of kids in traditional public schools. The OEA looks forward to working closely with lawmakers to ensure meaningful accountability and transparency for Ohio’s charter school system. The House Education Committee will hear testimony from the HB 2 sponsors on Wednesday, February 4, 2015. The new chair of the House Education Committee is Rep. Bill Hayes (R-Harrison Township).