Ohio General Assembly's Bipartisan Support Sends Bill for Governor's Signature
October 7, 2015 was a landmark day at the Ohio Statehouse as both chambers overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan charter reform bill to address transparency and accountability for Ohio's charter schools. House Bill 2 is a true testament to the leadership in the House and Senate for jointly acting to ensure that the nearly 125,000 students who attend our schools will continue to have access to educational options and a high quality learning experience. OAPCS' Government Affairs team was involved from the outset as the bill evolved, testifying at hearings, attending planning and research meetings and communicating with our members as the legislation was debated. We are proud of the outcome and consider this a win for OAPCS, charter schools in Ohio and, most importantly, t
he students and families. In this OAPCS HB 2 Legislative Analysis, I highlight key provisions with a link to the in-depth and detailed analysis of the bill (
click here for full HB 2 analysis
). The following are key oversight mandates in HB 2:
- Tightens the law around "sponsor hopping" and ensures there is a public hearing held in front of the State Board of Education (SBOE).
- Sponsors with an overall "Exemplary" rating for at least two consecutive years will be able to take advantage of several incentives outlined in the bill, while penalties would be imposed for those rated "Ineffective." Those rated "Poor" will have their sponsorship authority revoked.
- Sponsors will be required to annually report the amount and type of expenditures made in providing oversight and assistance. The report will be a factor in evaluating a sponsor.
- Sponsors cannot sell goods or services to a school it oversees unless that school is sponsored by a school district or university and the service is provided on a nonprofit basis.
- Requires ODE, by November 15, 2016, to develop and publish an annual performance report for all operators of community schools in the state. Each report must be published by November 15 each year, and the law specifies that the report of the performance is based on the performance of the community schools for the previous year and requires the report to be made available on ODE's website.
- Requires a management company that receives more than 20 percent of the gross annual revenues of a community school to provide a detailed accounting, including the nature and costs of the goods and services it provides to the school.
- Requires that each new or renewed contract between the governing authority of a community school and an operator to contain certain criteria.
- Board members' compensation was limited to $125 (current law is $425). The annual compensation limit of $5,000 remains and it also ensures conversion community school board members are paid within this limit.
- Requires board members to undergo a criminal record check as well as file a disclosure statement setting forth any potential conflicts of interest. Also, requires board members, school leaders and any administrative staff of a community school to be annually trained on open records and public meetings law.
- Requires each community school to post on the school's website the name of each member of the school's governing authority. Also, requires each community school to provide, upon request, the name and address of each governing authority member to the school's sponsor and ODE.
- Specifies that the governing authority is the sole entity responsible for the adoption of the budget, but the governing authority must adopt the budget with the assistance of the school's designated fiscal officer.
- **OAPCS' Government Affairs team effectively lobbied to have a provision removed that would ultimately have made board members personally liable in a lawsuit.**
- Added a provision in the bill that stipulates if any management company buys school property with public tax payer funds that property becomes the sole property owned by the school. This measure was a response by the Legislature to the recent Ohio Supreme Court ruling in the White Hat case.
- Requires ODE to conduct a study to evaluate the validity and usefulness of using the "Similar Students Measure," created by the California Charter Schools Association, to calculate student academic progress for each public school.
- Permits, in lieu of the bond or cash payment guarantee required under current law to be paid by a community school for the cost of audits conducted by the Auditor of State, a community school sponsor or operator that has a contract with the school to provide a written guarantee of payment that obligates the sponsor or operator to pay the costs of those audits up to the amount of $50,000.
- Read the full HB 2 analysis here.
Director, Government Affairs
Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools (OAPCS)
33 N. Third Street, Suite 600
Columbus, OH 43215
Office: 614-744-2266, ext. 210