Ohio

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1997
Year Charter School Law Was Enacted
345
Estimated Number of Charter Schools in 2017-18
115,400
Estimated Number of Charter School Students in 2017-18
153
out of
240
Total Score

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While Ohio’s law allows multiple authorizing entities and provides sufficient autonomy and accountability to public charter schools, it allows only brick-and-mortar startup charter schools in about 10 percent of the state’s school districts and provides inequitable funding to charter schools.

Potential areas of improvement include removing all caps on charter school growth, beefing up the law’s requirements for charter application, review, and decision making processes, ensuring equitable operational funding and equitable access to capital funding and facilities, and strengthening accountability for full-time virtual charter schools.

Component Scores

Are there caps on the growth of charter schools in this state?

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 approximately 39 “challenged” districts (out of more than 600) based upon 2014-15 data. 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. The 100-school limit does not apply to any authorizer receiving an “exemplary” rating for two consecutive years under the state authorizer evaluation system.

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%.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
1A
No numeric or geographic limits are placed on the number of charter public schools or students.
Some
1B
If caps exist, there is room for growth.

Are a variety of charter schools allowed?

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

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
2A
New startups.
Yes
2B
Public school conversions.

Are non-district authorizers available to which charter applicants may directly apply?

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.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
3A
The state allows an applicant anywhere in the state to apply directly to a non-district authorizer(s).

Is an authorizer and overall program accountability system required?

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. However, every authorizer now has an agreement with the state department of education.
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 and an annual report on expenditures.

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 as necessary to accommodate the term of the department’s authorization of the school.

In lieu of revoking an 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 authorizer 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.

While the law does not require the legislature and governor to regularly review the performance of the state department of education as an authorizer, they can do so at any time. In addition, the ability of the state department of education to continue authorizing can be removed by the legislature and governor (the entities that gave it that authority).
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.

Not later than November 15, 2016, and not later than the fifteenth day of November for each year thereafter, Ohio law requires the state department of education to develop and publish an annual performance report for all operators of community schools in the state based on their performance for the previous school year. The report shall be made available on the department's web site.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
4A
Registration process for school boards to affirm their interest in authorizing.
Yes
4B
Application process for other eligible authorizing entities (except a state charter schools commission).
Yes
4C
Authorizer submission of annual report.
Yes
4D
The ability for the state to conduct a review of an authorizer’s performance.
Yes
4E
The ability for the state to sanction an authorizer for poor performance, including suspending an authorizer’s authority to approve new schools.
Yes
4F
Periodic formal evaluation of overall state charter school program and outcomes.

Is there adequate authorizer funding?

Ohio law allows authorizers to take up to 3% of each charter school's per pupil funding and requires authorizers to publicly report detailed authorizer expenditures. Ohio law prohibits authorizers from selling any goods or services to any charter school it authorizes, except that it allows school districts and state universities to sell goods or services at no profit. Ohio rules prohibit authorizers from requiring schools to purchase services from them.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
5A
A uniform statewide formula that guarantees annual authorizer funding that is not subject to annual legislative appropriations.
Yes
5B
Requirement to publicly report detailed authorizer expenditures.
Yes
5C
Separate contract for any services purchased from an authorizer by a school.
Yes
5D
Prohibition on authorizers requiring schools to purchase services from them.

Are there transparent charter application, review, and decisionmaking processes?

Ohio law includes a small number of the model law’s provisions regarding transparent charter application, review, and decision-making processes.
Ohio law provides application elements for all schools. It also provides additional application elements specific to educational service providers for virtual schools but not for brick-and-mortar schools.

While Ohio hasn’t explicitly required these measures in statute or regulation, Ohio’s authorizer evaluation system requires authorizers to incorporate NACSA’s standards for quality practice (which include these measures). Authorizers receive a rating based upon whether they include these standards. If they don’t receive a high enough rating, they could lose their power to authorize schools.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
6A
Application elements for all schools.
No
6B
Additional application elements specific to conversion schools.
Some
6C
Additional application elements specific to using educational service providers.
No
6D
Additional application elements specific to replications.
No
6E
Requirement for thorough evaluation of each application, including an in-person interview and a public meeting.
No
6F
Application approval criteria.
No
6G
All charter approval or denial decisions made in a public meeting with authorizers stating reasons for denials in writing.

Are performance-based charter contracts required?

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, performance standards by which the success of the school will be evaluated, and the duties and responsibilities of both the charter school governing board and the authorizer.
Under Ohio law, each contract entered into between an authorizer and governing board of a charter school shall not exceed five years.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
7A
Being created as a separate document from the application and executed by the governing board of the charter school and the authorizer.
Yes
7B
Defining the roles, powers, and responsibilities for the school and its authorizer.
Yes
7C
Defining academic, financial, and operational performance expectations by which the school will be judged based on a performance framework.
Some
7D
Providing an initial term of five operating years.

Are there comprehensive charter school monitoring and data collection processes?

Ohio law requires authorizers to evaluate charters on an annual basis and to issue a report of their evaluation.
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.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
8A
Required annual school performance reports.
Yes
8B
Financial accountability for charter schools (e.g., generally accepted accounting principles, independent annual audit reported to authorizer).
Yes
8C
Authorizer authority to conduct oversight activities.
Yes
8D
Authorizer notification to its schools of perceived problems, with opportunities to remedy such problems.
Yes
8E
Authorizer authority to take appropriate corrective actions or exercise sanctions short of revocation.
No
8F
Authorizer may not request duplicative data submission from its charter schools and may not use performance framework to create cumbersome reporting requirements.

Are there clear processes for renewal, nonrenewal, and revocation decisions?

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 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 and beyond, 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 and beyond, 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 and beyond, 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.

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

The law prohibits a school that is permanently closed under the state’s automatic closure laws from reopening under another name if any of the following apply: the new school has the same authorizer or chief administrator as the closed school; the governing authority of the new school consists of any of the same members that served on the board of the closed school during its last year of operation; 50% or more of the teaching staff or the administrative staff consist of the same individuals who were employed at the closed school during its last year of operation; and, the performance standards and accountability plan prescribed by the authorizer contract for the new school are the same as those for the closed school.

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 provision for authorizers that aren’t public entities.

Ohio law requires each school's charter to contain procedures and policies for the disposition of students and teachers in the event of closure. It also provides that a child attending a terminated or non-renewed charter shall be admitted to his or her district school. It does not contain provisions for property and asset disposition.

The law regulates the conditions under which lower performing schools may contract with a new authorizer, with such requests needing approval by the state department.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
9A
Authorizer must issue school performance renewal reports to schools whose charter will expire the following year.
No
9B
Schools seeking renewal must apply for it.
No
9C
Authorizers must issue renewal application guidance that provides an opportunity for schools to augment their performance record and discuss improvements and future plans.
No
9D
Ability to have a differentiated process for renewal of high-performing charter schools.
Yes
9E
Authorizers must use clear criteria for renewal and nonrenewal/revocation.
Yes
9F
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.
Yes
9G
Requirement that authorizers close chronically low-performing charter schools unless exceptional circumstances exist.
Yes
9H
Authorizers must have the authority to vary length of charter renewal contract terms based on performance or other issues.
Yes
9I
Authorizers must provide charter schools with timely notification of potential revocation or nonrenewal (including reasons) and reasonable time to respond.
Yes
9J
Authorizers must provide charter schools with due process for nonrenewal and revocation decisions (e.g., public hearing, submission of evidence).
Some
9K
All charter renewal, nonrenewal, and revocation decisions must be made in a public meeting, with authorizers stating reasons for nonrenewals and revocations in writing.
Some
9L
Authorizers must have school closure protocols to ensure timely parent notification, orderly student and record transitions, and property and asset disposition.
Yes
9M
Any transfer of charter contracts from one authorizer to another are only allowed if they are approved by the state.

Is there transparency regarding educational service providers?

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.

State law requires school governing boards to operate independently of any educational service provider and requires existing and potential conflicts of interest between the two entities to be reported. It also prohibits charter school governing board members from being employed by an authorizer or operator.

It also requires that starting in 2016, all contracts between charter boards and management companies are collected by the state department and posted on the department’s website.

The law requires that management companies that receive more than 20% of a charter school’s revenue must provide a very detailed accounting including the nature and costs of goods and services it provides to the school.

The law requires criminal records checks of all private contract employees providing essential school services in a school.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
10A
All types of educational service providers (both for-profit and nonprofit) are allowed to operate all or parts of schools.
Some
10B
The charter application requires (1) performance data for all current and past schools operated by the ESP, and (2) explanation and evidence of the ESP’s capacity for successful growth while maintaining quality in existing schools.
Some
10C
A performance contract is required between the independent charter school board and the ESP, with such contract approved by the school’s authorizer.
Yes
10D
School governing boards operate as entities completely independent of any ESP, individuals compensated by an ESP are prohibited from serving as voting members on such boards, and existing and potential conflicts of interest between the two entities are required to be disclosed and explained in the charter application.
Some
10E
Provides that charter school governing boards must have access to ESP records necessary to oversee the ESP contract.
Yes
10F
An ESP must annually provide information to its charter school governing board on how that ESP spends public funding it receives when the ESP is performing a public function under applicable state law.
Yes
10G
Requires that similar criminal history record checks and fingerprinting requirements applicable to other public schools shall also be mandatory for on-site employees of ESPs who regularly come into contact with students.

Are the schools fiscally and legally autonomous with independent charter school boards?

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.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Some
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).
Some
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).
Yes
11C
Independent school governing boards created specifically to govern their charter schools.

Are there clear student enrollment and lottery procedures?

Ohio law allows charter schools to provide open enrollment to any student in the state.
It prohibits discrimination in the admission of students to the school on the basis of race, creed, color, disability, or sex (unless it has been approved as a single-gender school or a school specializing in students with certain disabilities).
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.
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.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
12A
Open enrollment to any student in the state.
Yes
12B
Anti-discrimination provisions regarding admissions.
Yes
12C
Required enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students within conversions and for prior-year students within charter schools.
Yes
12D
Lottery requirements.

Is there automatic exemption from many state and district laws and regulations?

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 most laws, except those covering such matters as health, safety, civil rights, student accountability, employee criminal history checks, open meetings, freedom of information, and generally accepted accounting principles..
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.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
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.
Some
13B
Exemption from state teacher certification requirements.

Is there an automatic collective bargaining exemption?

Ohio requires collective bargaining for public school teachers on nine topics: wages, pensions and retirement benefits, hours, length of prep periods, terms and conditions of employment, length of school year, leave, evaluations, and grievance procedures. In addition, five additional topics may be bargained: insurance and fringe benefits, management rights, transfers and reassignments, layoffs, and dismissal. There are no topics that are expressly excluded from bargaining.Ohio exempts start-up charter schools from mandatory participation in any outside collective bargaining agreements.
Conversion charters are, however, subject 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.
Prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, Ohio allowed mandatory agency fees. The Supreme Court decision renders that state law unconstitutional. No reactive laws have been enacted.
In Ohio, an organization may become certified as an exclusive representative via election conducted by the state employment relations board or by petitioning a public employer with evidence that the organization represents a majority of employees. An election will be conducted if at least 30 percent of employees wish to be represented by a particular group or if the employer alleges that two or more organizations have petitioned for representation with at least 10 percent support each. An active exclusive representative may not be challenged for the first three years of a collective bargaining agreement. Elections may not be held within one year of each other. Since Janus, three related challenges have been filed by the Buckeye Institute to challenge the constitutionality of Ohio’s exclusive representation statute, alleging that permitting exclusive representation violates individuals’ First Amendment rights.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
14A
Charter schools authorized by nonlocal board authorizers are exempt from participation in any outside collective bargaining agreements.
Some
14B
Charter schools authorized by local boards are exempt from participation in any district collective bargaining agreements.

Are multischool charter contracts and/or multicharter contract boards allowed?

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.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Some
15A
Oversee multiple schools linked under a single contract with independent fiscal and academic accountability for each school.
Some
15B
Hold multiple charter contracts with independent fiscal and academic accountability for each school.

Is there eligibility and access to extracurricular and interscholastic activities?

Ohio law provides that a student in a charter 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.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
16A
Laws or regulations explicitly state that charter school students and employees are eligible to participate in all extracurricular and interscholastic activities available to noncharter public school students and employees.
Yes
16B
Laws or regulations explicitly allow charter school students in schools not providing extracurricular and interscholastic activities to have access to those activities at noncharter public schools.

Is there clear identification of special education responsibilities?

Under state law, the charter school is the LEA responsible for providing special education services, with detailed funding provisions for such in the law. The law allows schools to receive payment from the state department for any costs that exceed the threshold catastrophic costs for serving certain disabled students.
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.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
17A
Clarity regarding which entity is the local education agency (LEA) responsible for providing special education services.
Yes
17B
Clarity regarding the flow of federal, state, and local special education funds to the designated LEA.
Yes
17C
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).
Yes
17D
Clarity that charter schools have access to all regional and state services and supports available to traditional districts.

Is there equitable operational funding and equal access to all state and federal categorical funding?

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 times a student’s resident district’s economically disadvantaged index, 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 national study of charter school funding (University of Arkansas, Charter School Funding: Inequity Expands, 2014), Ohio charter schools were receiving on average $8,580 per pupil in public funds, while traditional public schools would have received $11,674 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $3,184 per pupil – or 27.1% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals some continued inequities for both operational and capital funding (see component #19 for information on capital issues).

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
18A
Equitable operational funding statutorily driven.
Some
18B
Equal access to all applicable categorical federal and state funding and clear guidance on the pass-through of such funds.
Yes
18C
Funding for transportation similar to school districts.
No
18D
Annual report offering district and charter school funding comparisons and including annual recommendations to the legislature for any needed equity enhancements.

Is there equitable access to capital funding and facilities?

Ohio law provides brick-and-mortar schools with $200 per pupil for facilities funding in Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019.
Ohio law creates a $25 million “Community School Classroom Facilities” grant program for high-performing charter schools. This grant has $8 million remaining.

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, with preference given to high-performing schools and newly established schools from operators with a track record of high performance.

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

Ohio law allows traditional districts to levy taxes for charter schools that are sponsored by “exemplary” authorizers.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Facilities Funding
Some
19A
A per-pupil facilities allowance that annually reflects actual average district capital costs.
Yes
19B
A state grant program for charter school facilities.
No
19C
Equal access to existing state facilities programs available to noncharter public schools.
Access to Public Space
No
19D
A requirement for districts to provide school district space or funding to charter schools if the majority of that schools’ students reside in that district.
Yes
19E
Right of first refusal to purchase or lease at or below fair market value a closed, unused, or underused public school facility or property.
Access to Financing Tools
No
19F
A state loan program for charter school facilities.
No
19G
Equal access to tax-exempt bonding authorities or allowing charter schools to have their own bonding authority
No
19H
Pledging the moral obligation of the state to help charter schools obtain more favorable bond financing terms.
No
19I
The creation and funding of a state charter school debt reserve fund.
Some
19J
The inclusion of charter schools in school district bonding and mill levy requests.
No
19K
A mechanism to provide credit enhancement for charter school facilities.
Other
No
19L
Charter schools allowed to contract at or below fair market value with a school district, a college or university, or any other public or for-profit or nonprofit private entity for the use of facility for a school building.
No
19M
Certain entities allowed to provide space to charter schools within their facilities under their preexisting zoning and land use designations.
Yes
19N
Charter school facilities exempt from ad valorem taxes and other assessment fees not applicable to other public schools.

Is there access to relevant employee retirement systems?

For the most part, Ohio law requires that charter schools participate in relevant employee retirement systems. However, the law provides that certain operators that pay into social security are exempt from contributing to state retirement programs for some of their employees.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
20A
Charter schools have access to relevant state retirement systems available to other public schools.
Some
20B
Charter schools have the option to participate (i.e., not required).

Are there provisions for full-time virtual charter schools?

Ohio’s law does not include any of the model law’s provisions regarding full-time virtual charter schools. However, it does contain some provisions concerning these schools.
Starting in 2013, up to five new virtual charter schools could be approved per year, all subject to the approval of the superintendent of public instruction with such approval based on applicants demonstrating experience and quality.

Ohio law allows full-time virtual charter schools to require an orientation course for all new students.

Ohio law requires a charter school’s governing authority to adopt an attendance policy that includes a procedure for automatically withdrawing a student from the school if the student without a legitimate excuse fails to participate in seventy-two consecutive hours of the learning opportunities offered to the student.

Ohio’s law contains provisions requiring these schools to provide computers and other technology equipment and support, have a teacher of record for not more than 125 students each, have a location for testing, counseling, and instructional coaching within 50 miles of each student, document daily learning hours, have contacts with parents, have an orientation course for students, and have planes for providing special education services.

Starting in 2016, all such schools need to also comply with the standards developed by the international association for K-12 online learning.

The law provides that in the case there exists any business or familial relationship between a governing authority of a charter school or any of its officers or employees and a management company contracted by the school or any of that company's officers or employees, other than the operator agreement itself, the management company shall agree to indemnify the school for financial losses to the charter school up to the amount of the moneys received by the management company.

The law creates a joint committee to study and report to the General Assembly specific recommendations for:
* A funding system for internet- and computer-based charter schools that bases payments to a school on a student's demonstration of competency of subject matter, in addition to, or instead of, full-time enrollment in coursework and log-on and log-off times;
* The categories of expenses for which a charter school management company must provide a detailed accounting.
The committee shall submit its report not later than November 15, 2018. Upon the submission of this report, the committee shall be abolished.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
21A
An authorizing structure whereby full-time virtual charter schools that serve students from more than one district may be approved only by an authorizer with statewide chartering jurisdiction and authority, full-time virtual charter schools that serve students from one school district may be authorized by that school district, and a cap is placed on the total amount of funding that an authorizer may withhold from a full-time virtual charter school.
No
21B
Legally permissible criteria and processes for enrollment based on the existence of supports needed for student success.
No
21C
Enrollment level provisions that establish maximum enrollment levels for each year of a charter contract, with any increases in enrollment from one year to the next based on whether the school meets its performance requirements.
No
21D
Accountability provisions that include virtual-specific goals regarding student enrollment, attendance, engagement, achievement, truancy, and attrition.
No
21E
Funding levels per student based on costs proposed and justified by the operators.
No
21F
Performance-based funding whereby full-time virtual charter schools are funded via a performance-based funding system based on meeting the accountability performance provisions.