Measuring Up to the Model



Ohio

TOTAL SCORE:
129 out of 228

Rank: 28 out of 43

Year Charter School Law Was Enacted:  1997
Estimated Number of Public Charter Schools in 2013-14:  400
Estimated Number of Public Charter School Students in 2013-14:  119,533

Ohio enacted legislation to provide facilities funding to charter schools in 2013.

Ohio’s score increased from 117 points in 2013 to 129 points this year.  The score changed because of further clarification about the specific policies for Component #10 (Educational Service Providers Allowed), Component #13 (Automatic Exemptions from Many State and District Laws and Regulations), and Component #14 (Automatic Collective Bargaining Exemption) and because of a change in state policy for Component #19 (Equitable Access to Capital Funding and Facilities).  Its ranking went from #27 to #28.

Potential areas of improvement include removing all caps on charter school growth, beefing up its requirements for charter application, review, and decisionmaking processes and ensuring equitable operational funding and equitable access to capital funding and facilities.

Do Ohio's laws align to the model law?

Model Law Component

Matches

Ohio's Charter Law

Score

1. No Caps

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Ohio law allows conversion schools in all districts. Ohio law limits start-up brick and mortar charters to ""challenged"" districts, which are those districts rated in the lowest 5% in the state’s performance index, the ""Big 8"" districts (Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown), and districts within the former Lucas County pilot area. There are currently approximately 58 “challenged” districts (out of more than 600) for the 2013-14 school year. There is no cap on the number of public charter schools allowed in “challenged” districts.

Ohio law allows each authorizer to approve up to 100 schools, except for the state department of education (which can approve no more than 20 schools each year during its initial five years of chartering, and of those 20, only five can be new start-ups).

Ohio law allows five new e-schools per year. Ohio law provides that an e-school cannot enroll more students than the number permitted by its enrollment limit. The law defines an enrollment limit as a school’s base enrollment plus its allowed annual rate of growth. For currently operating schools, the law provides that the base enrollment is the school’s enrollment number at the end of the 2012-13 school year. For new schools, the law provides that the base enrollment is 1,000 students. For schools with over 3,000 students, the law provides that the allowed annual rate of growth is no more than 15%. For schools with less than 3,000 students, the law provides that the allowed annual rate of growth is no more than 25%.

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1A. No limits are placed on the number of public charter schools or students (and no geographic limits).

1B. If caps exist, adequate room for growth.

2. A Variety of Public Charter Schools Allowed

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Ohio law allows new start-ups, public school conversions, and virtual schools.

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2A. New start-ups.

2B. Public school conversions.

2C. Virtual schools.

3. Multiple Authorizers Available

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Ohio law provides numerous charter authorizers including: (1) the board of education of the district in which the school is proposed to be located; (2) the board of education of any joint vocational school district with territory in the county in which is located the majority of the territory of the district in which the school is proposed to be located; (3) the board of education of any other city, local, or exempted village school district having territory in the same county where the district in which the school is proposed to be located has the major portion of its territory; (4) the governing board of any educational service center, as long as the proposed school will be located in a county within the territory of the service center or in a county contiguous to such county; (5) a sponsoring authority designated by the board of trustees of any of the thirteen state universities or the board of trustees for the university itself if the proposed school will serve as the university’s teaching demonstration site as approved by the state board of education; (6) any qualified education non-profit that meets the standards as outlined in the charter law; and (7) the Ohio Department of Education. There is considerable authorizing activity by these entities.

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3A. The state allows two or more authorizing options (e.g., school districts and a state charter schools commission) for each applicant with direct application to each authorizer.

4. Authorizer & Overall Program Accountability System Required

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Ohio law requires all eligible authorizers to apply to the state board of education for approval to serve as an authorizer for start-up charter schools except for those already serving as authorizers at the time this provision was enacted.

Ohio law requires the state department of education to adopt criteria and procedures to process authorizer applications. State regulations specify that an interested authorizer must obtain, complete, and submit a written application by the specified deadline. Regulations provide that the application must include evidence of a authorizer's ability and willingness to do the following: authorize a new charter in a challenged district; demonstrate, if it authorizes any schools, that they hold a comparable rating to or better than the performance of Ohio schools rated for continuous performance; possess resources necessary to monitor and provide technical assistance; comply with statute; indicate fees not to exceed 3% of the total amount of payments for operating expenses that a school receives from the state which will be collected; monitor and evaluate school compliance; monitor and evaluate academic and fiscal performance; report on the schools to the state department; provide technical assistance; intervene to correct any performance deficiencies; and have a plan in place for when a school experiences financial difficulties or closes prior to the end of the school year.

Ohio law requires authorizers to issue an annual report of assurances to the state department.

Ohio law requires the state department to monitor the effectiveness of authorizers in their oversight of the schools with which they have contracted. The law requires the state department of education to rate authorizers based upon their performance.

If at any time the state board finds that an authorizer is not in compliance or is no longer willing to comply with its contract with any school or with the department’s rules for authorizing, state law requires the state board or designee to conduct a hearing. If after the hearing, the state board or designee has confirmed the original finding, state law allows the state department to revoke the authorizer’s approval to authorize schools and assume the authorization of any schools with which the authorizer has contracted until the earlier of the expiration of two school years or until a new authorizer is secured by the school’s governing authority. State law allows the state department to extend the term of the contract in the case of a school for which it has assumed authorization under this division as necessary to accommodate the term of the department’s authorization of the school specified in this division.

In lieu of revoking authorizer’s authority to authorize charter schools, if the state department finds that an authorizer is not in compliance with applicable laws and administrative rules, the law requires the department to declare in a written notice to the authorizer the specific laws or rules, or both, for which the authorizer is noncompliant. The law requires an authorizer notified to respond to the state department not later than fourteen days after the notification with a proposed plan to remedy the conditions for which the authorizer was found to be noncompliant. The law requires the state department to approve or disapprove the plan.

If a plan or a revised plan is approved, the law requires the sponsor to implement the plan. If an authorizer does not respond to the state department or implement an approved compliance plan, or if an authorizer does not receive approval of a compliance plan, the law requires the state department to declare in written notice to the authorizer that the authorizer is in probationary status, and may limit the authorizer's ability to authorize additional schools.

The law allows an authorizer that has been placed on probationary status to apply to the state department for its probationary status to be lifted.

By December thirty-first of each year, state law requires the state department to issue a report to the governor, the speaker of the house of representatives, the president of the senate, and the chairpersons of the house and senate committees principally responsible for education matters regarding the effectiveness of academic programs, operations, and legal compliance and of the financial condition of all charter schools and on the performance of authorizers.

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4A. At least a registration process for local school boards to affirm their interest in chartering to the state.

4B. Application process for other eligible authorizing entities.

4C. Authorizer submission of annual report, which summarizes the agency’s authorizing activities as well as the performance of its school portfolio.

4D. A regular review process by authorizer oversight body.

4E. Authorizer oversight body with authority to sanction authorizers, including removal of authorizer right to approve schools.

4F. Periodic formal evaluation of overall state charter school program and outcomes.

5. Adequate Authorizer Funding

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Ohio law allows authorizers to take up to 3% of each charter school's per pupil funding. Ohio rules prohibit authorizers from requiring schools to purchase services from them.

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5A. Adequate funding from authorizing fees (or other sources).

5B. Guaranteed funding from authorizing fees (or from sources not subject to annual legislative appropriations).

5C. Requirement to publicly report detailed authorizer expenditures.

5D. Separate contract for any services purchased from an authorizer by a school.

5E. Prohibition on authorizers requiring schools to purchase services from them.

6. Transparent Charter Application, Review, and Decisionmaking Processes

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Ohio law provides application elements for all schools. It also provides additional application elements specific to virtual schools.

It does not provide additional application elements specific to conversion schools, educational service providers, and replications. It also doesn’t require authorizers to issue requests for proposals, to thoroughly evaluate each application including an in-person interview and a public meeting, to make all charter approval and denial decisions in a public meeting, and to state reasons for denials in writing.

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6A. Application elements for all schools.

6B. Additional application elements specific to conversion schools.

6C. Additional application elements specific to virtual schools.

6D. Additional application elements specific when using educational service providers.

6E. Additional application elements specific to replications.

6F. Authorizer-issued request for proposals (including application requirements and approval criteria).

6G. Thorough evaluation of each application including an in-person interview and a public meeting.

6H. All charter approval or denial decisions made in a public meeting, with authorizers stating reasons for denials in writing.

7. Performance-Based Charter Contracts Required

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Ohio law requires a contract between the authorizer and the governing board of the charter school that articulates, among other things, the focus of the curriculum, the academic goals to be achieved, the method of measurement that will be used to determine progress toward the academic goals, and the duties and responsibilities of both the charter school governing board and the authorizer.

Under Ohio law, each contract entered into between a sponsor and governing board of the community school shall not exceed 5 years.

While the law requires the charter contract to articulate the academic goals to be achieved and the method of measurement that will be used to determine progress toward the academic goals, it does not require the charter contract to define academic and operational performance expectations by which the school will be judged based on a performance framework that includes measures and metrics for a wide range of indicators. It also doesn’t require charter contracts to include provisions addressing the unique environments of virtual schools.

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7A. Being created as a separate document from the application and executed by the governing board of the charter school and the authorizer.

7B. Defining the roles, powers, and responsibilities for the school and its authorizer.

7C. Defining academic and operational performance expectations by which the school will be judged, based on a performance framework that includes measures and metrics for, at a minimum, student academic proficiency and growth, achievement gaps, attendance, recurrent enrollment, postsecondary readiness (high schools), financial performance, and board stewardship (including compliance).

7D. Providing an initial term of five operating years (or a longer term with periodic high-stakes reviews.

7E. Including requirements addressing the unique environments of virtual schools, if applicable.

8. Comprehensive Charter School Monitoring and Data Collection Processes

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Ohio law requires the state auditor to conduct financial audits of each school. It also requires authorizers to annually report the academic and fiscal performance of each of its schools to the state department of education and to parents.

Ohio law requires the state department of education to issue an annual report card to each school, which is to include both financial and academic data. Furthermore, state law requires each school to participate in the statewide management information system.

Under Ohio law, a prospective charter authorizer must include in its application its ability to monitor and conduct oversight authority.

Ohio law allows an authorizer to place a school on probation with the assurance of the governing body that it will correct any deficiencies.

The law requires the charter contract to specify the duties of the authorizer, which include its ability to intervene in the school's operation to correct problems and declare the school to be on probationary status if deemed necessary. The law provides that a school may only be placed on probation with the assurance of the governing body that it will correct any deficiencies.

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8A. The collection and analysis of student outcome data at least annually by authorizers (consistent with performance framework outlined in the contract).

8B. Financial accountability for charter schools (e.g., Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, independent annual audit reported to authorizer).

8C. Authorizer authority to conduct or require oversight activities.

8D. Annual school performance reports which are made public.

8E. Authorizer notification to their schools of perceived problems, with opportunities to remedy such problems.

8F. Authorizer authority to take appropriate corrective actions or exercise sanctions short of revocation.

9. Clear Processes for Renewal, Nonrenewal, and Revocation Decisions

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Ohio law does not require authorizers to issue renewal applications, does not require schools seeking renewal to apply for it, and does not require authorizers to issue renewal application guidance that provides an opportunity for schools to augment their performance record and discuss improvements and future plans. In practice, however, some authorizers issue an application, while others adopt an automatic renewal clause in the contract.

Ohio law requires authorizers to notify a school by February 1 of its intent to terminate or not renew their contract. The law allows the school to request an informal hearing and requires a written decision to be issued within 14 days of such a hearing. It allows schools to then appeal the decision to the state board of education, which must conduct a hearing and issue its decision within 60 days.

The law allows a contract to be terminated or not renewed for fiscal mismanagement, failure to meet performance goals of the charter, violation of the law, or a "good cause" prior to the end of the school year. The law sets forth due process requirements and an appeal process.

The following circumstances trigger automatic closure of a charter school (with an exemption for schools in which a majority of the students are receiving special education):

* Schools serving no higher than grade three: For the 2013-14 school year, will be automatically closed if for two of the past three years has been in Academic Emergency OR has received an “F” in the Kindergarten through 3rd grade literacy measure.
* Schools serving any grade four through eight, but no grade above nine: For the 2013-14 school year, will be automatically closed if for two of the past three years was rated Academic Emergency AND showed less than one year of growth in either reading or math OR has received an “F” for the performance index score AND an “F” for the value added score.
* Schools offering any grade ten through twelve: For the 2013-14 school year, will be automatically closed if for two of the past three years has been in Academic Emergency OR has received an “F” for the performance index score and has not met the annual measureable objectives (AMOs).

Ohio law includes automatic closure requirements specific to dropout recovery public charter schools.

Ohio law does not address the number of years in the renewal term for the charter contract, but simply says that an authorizer may choose not to renew a contract at its expiration or may choose to terminate a contract prior to its expiration.

Under state law, at least 90 days prior to the termination or non renewal of a contract, the authorizer must notify the school of the proposed action in writing, which must include the reasons for the proposed action in detail, the effective date of the termination or non renewal, and a statement that the school may, within fourteen days of receiving the notice, request an informal hearing before the sponsor. The law requires the informal hearing to be held within seventy days of the receipt for a hearing request. Following the hearing, the law requires the authorizer to issue a written decision either affirming or rescinding the decision to terminate or not to renew the contract. The law requires authorizers that are public entities to make all charter renewal, non-renewal, and revocation decisions in a public meeting. It does not include a similar provisions for authorizers that aren’t public entities.

Ohio law allows the charter holder to appeal an authorizer's decision to terminate a contract to the state board and provides that the decision by the state board is final.

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9A. Authorizer must issue school performance renewal reports to schools whose charter will expire the following year.

9B. Schools seeking renewal must apply for it.

9C. Authorizers must issue renewal application guidance that provides an opportunity for schools to augment their performance record and discuss improvements and future plans.

9D. Clear criteria for renewal and nonrenewal/revocation.

9E. Authorizers must ground renewal decisions based on evidence regarding the school’s performance over the term of the charter contract (in accordance with the performance framework set forth in the charter contract).

9F. Authorizer authority to vary length of charter renewal contract terms based on performance or other issues.

9G. Authorizers must provide charter schools with timely notification of potential revocation or non-renewal (including reasons) and reasonable time to respond.

9H. Authorizers must provide charter schools with due process for nonrenewal and revocation decisions (e.g., public hearing, submission of evidence).

9I. All charter renewal, non-renewal, and revocation decisions made in a public meeting, with authorizers stating reasons for non-renewals and revocations in writing.

9J. Authorizers must have school closure protocols to ensure timely parent notification, orderly student and record transitions, and property and asset disposition.

10. Educational Service Providers (ESPs) Allowed

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Ohio law allows charter schools to contract with all types of educational service providers.

It requires all virtual charter schools, including those contracting with an educational service provider, to be approved by an authorizer and the state superintendent of public instruction. In making a decision about whether to approve a virtual charter school application, it requires the state superintendent to consider rules prescribed by the state board of education. Among other things, it requires these rules to include the educational service provider’s previous record for student performance. However, there aren’t similar requirements for brick-and-mortar schools.

Although state law does not require existing and potential conflicts of interest between the two entities be disclosed and explained in the charter application, it does prohibit community school governing board members from being employed by an authorizer or operator.

The law does not include other provisions related to performance contracts and authorizer approval of such contracts.

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10A. All types of educational service providers (both for-profit and non-profit) explicitly allowed to operate all or parts of schools.

10B. The charter application requires 1) performance data for all current and past schools operated by the ESP, including documentation of academic achievement and (if applicable) school management success; and 2) explanation and evidence of the ESP’s capacity for successful growth while maintaining quality in existing schools.

10C. A performance contract is required between the independent public charter school board and the ESP, setting forth material terms including but not limited to: performance evaluation measures; methods of contract oversight and enforcement by the charter school board; compensation structure and all fees to be paid to the ESP; and conditions for contract renewal and termination.

10D. The material terms of the ESP performance contract must be approved by the authorizer prior to charter approval.

10E. School governing boards operating as entities completely independent of any educational service provider (e.g., must retain independent oversight authority of their charter schools, and cannot give away their authority via contract).

10F. Existing and potential conflicts of interest between the two entities are required to be disclosed and explained in the charter application.

11. Fiscally and Legally Autonomous Schools with Independent Public Charter School Boards

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Ohio law includes all of the model law’s provisions for fiscally and legally autonomous schools with independent public charter school boards for non-district authorized schools, but not for district-authorized schools.

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11A. Fiscally autonomous schools (e.g., schools have clear statutory authority to receive and disburse funds, incur debt, and pledge, assign or encumber assets as collateral).

11B. Legally autonomous schools (e.g., schools have clear statutory authority to enter into contracts and leases, sue and be sued in their own names, and acquire real property).

11C. School governing boards created specifically to govern their charter schools.

12. Clear Student Recruitment, Enrollment, and Lottery Procedures

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Ohio law allows charter schools to provide open enrollment to any student in the state. It also allows a charter school to limit admissions to students defined in their contract as “at risk,” residents of a specific geographic area within the district as defined in their contract, or separate groups of autistic and non-disabled students.

Ohio law requires charter schools to admit students by lot if the number of applicants exceeds the capacity of the school's programs, classes, grade levels, or facilities.

Ohio law requires charter schools to give preference to students attending the school the previous year and to students who reside in the school district in which the school is located.

Ohio law allows a charter school to give preference to siblings of students attending the school the previous year.

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12A. Open enrollment to any student in the state.

12B. Lottery requirements.

12C. Required enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students within conversions, prior year students within chartered schools, siblings of enrolled students enrolled at a charter school.

12D. Optional enrollment preference for children of a school’s founders, governing board members, and full-time employees, not exceeding 10% of the school’s total student population.

13. Automatic Exemptions from Many State and District Laws and Regulations

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Except as otherwise specified in the state's charter school law and in the contract between a charter school and an authorizer, Ohio law exempts a charter school from all state laws and rules pertaining to schools, school districts, and boards of education.

Ohio law requires all charter school teachers to be certified, except that a teacher may teach outside his or her area of certification and a charter school may engage non-certificated persons to teach up to twelve hours per week.

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13A. Exemptions from all laws, except those covering health, safety, civil rights, student accountability, employee criminal history checks, open meetings, freedom of information, and generally accepted accounting principles.

13B. Exemption from state teacher certification requirements.

14. Automatic Collective Bargaining Exemption

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

For start-ups, Ohio law exempts charter schools from mandatory participation in any outside collective bargaining agreements.

The law subjects conversions to a school district's collective bargaining agreement, unless a majority of the charter school's teachers petition to work independently or form their own unit. Ohio law provides that employees of a conversion charter school sponsored by the board of education of a municipal school district are no longer subject to any future collective bargaining agreement if the mayor submits to the board of education sponsoring the school and to the state employment relations board a statement requesting that all employees of the conversion charter school be removed from a collective bargaining unit.

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14A. Charter schools authorized by non-local board authorizers are exempt from participation in any outside collective bargaining agreements.

14B. Charter schools authorized by local boards are exempt from participation in any district collective bargaining agreements.

15. Multischool Charter Contracts and/or Multicharter Contract Boards Allowed

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Ohio law allows a single contract to cover multiple sites. But the law specifically requires that the contract be treated as a single school for report card and other purposes.

While the law is silent on whether a charter board can hold and oversee multiple charter contracts, it allows governing board members to serve on up to five governing boards simultaneously.

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15A. Oversee multiple schools linked under a single contract with independent fiscal and academic accountability for each school.

15B. Hold multiple charter contracts with independent fiscal and academic accountability for each school.

16. Extracurricular and Interscholastic Activities Eligibility and Access

weight = 1 | Possible total = 4

Ohio law provides that a student in grades seven to twelve who is enrolled in a charter school that is authorized by the city, local, or exempted village school district in which the student is entitled to attend school shall be afforded the opportunity to participate in any extracurricular activities offered at the traditional public school that is operated by the school district and to which the student otherwise would be assigned. This provision is not applicable to students attending charters authorized by other types of entities.

The law does not provide that charter school students and employees are eligible to participate in all interscholastic leagues, competitions, awards, scholarships, and recognition programs available to non-charter public school students and employees.

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16A. Laws or regulations explicitly state that charter school students and employees are eligible to participate in all interscholastic leagues, competitions, awards, scholarships, and recognition programs available to non-charter public school students and employees.

16B. Laws or regulations explicitly allow charter school students in schools not providing extra-curricular and interscholastic activities to have access to those activities at non-charter public schools for a fee by a mutual agreement.

17. Clear Identification of Special Education Responsibilities

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Under state law, the charter school is the LEA responsible for providing special education services. The law requires a school district board of education or educational service center governing board to negotiate with a charter school governing authority that seeks to contract for the provision of services for a disabled student in the same manner as it would with the board of education of a school district that seeks to contract for such services.

The law does not provide clarity regarding funding for low-incident, high-cost services for charter schools in the same amount and/or in a manner similar to other LEAs.

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17A. Clarity regarding which entity is the local education agency (LEA) responsible for providing special education services.

17B. Clarity regarding funding for low-incident, high-cost services for charter schools (in the same amount and/or in a manner similar to other LEAs).

18. Equitable Operational Funding and Equal Access to All State and Federal Categorical Funding

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Under Ohio law, charter school funding is the sum of opportunity grant funding, the per-pupil amount of targeted assistance funding for each student’s resident district times 0.25, special education funding, k-3 funding, economically disadvantaged funding, Limited English Proficiency funding, and career tech funding.

Ohio law requires districts to provide transportation for all charter students, but also allows charter schools to accept responsibility for transportation and receive funding for this directly from the state under prescribed circumstances.

In a study of charter school funding, the total average per-pupil amount of combined state and local revenue available to district students is $9,548. But the average amount deducted from a district for a charter student is only $6,772. District students are funded at nearly $3,000 dollars more on average, or 29%, than the amount that is transferred to support the education of the charter school student.

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18A. Equitable operational funding statutorily driven.

18B. Equal access to all applicable categorical federal and state funding, and clear guidance on the pass-through of such funds.

18C. Funding for transportation similar to school districts.

19. Equitable Access to Capital Funding and Facilities

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Ohio law provides brick-and-mortar schools with $100 per pupil for facilities funding.

Ohio law allows charter schools to use loans guaranteed under the Community Schools Facilities Guaranteed Loan Program for the construction of new school buildings. The state is not funding this program.

Ohio law also creates a revolving loan fund that allows charter schools to apply to use funds for any services described in their charter. The law provides that the maximum cumulative loan amount is $250,000 and that it must be repaid within five years. The state is not funding this program.

Statute requires districts to lease and sell unused buildings to charter schools located in the same district at a price not higher than the appraised market value and the appraisal must not be more than one year old.

The law provides that the Schoolhouse Tax Exemption applies to charters leasing from commercial realtors.

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19A. A per-pupil facilities allowance which annually reflects actual average district capital costs.

19B. A state grant program for charter school facilities.

19C. A state loan program for charter school facilities.

19D. Equal access to tax-exempt bonding authorities or allow charter schools to have their own bonding authority.

19E. A mechanism to provide credit enhancement for public charter school facilities.

19F. Equal access to existing state facilities programs available to non-charter public schools.

19G. Right of first refusal to purchase or lease at or below fair market value a closed, unused, or underused public school facility or property.

19H. Prohibition of facility-related requirements stricter than those applied to traditional public schools.

20. Access to Relevant Employee Retirement Systems

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Ohio law requires that charter schools participate in relevant employee retirement systems.

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20A. Charter schools have access to relevant state retirement systems available to other public schools.

20B. Charter schools have the option to participate (i.e., not required).