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Lepore-Hagan votes in favor of sweeping charter school reform bill

Lawmaker expresses concerns with charter teacher retirement restrictions
October 7, 2015
Michele Lepore-Hagan News

The Ohio House today agreed on conference committee changes to House Bill 2 (HB 2), a bipartisan education bill aimed at increasing transparency and accountability for Ohio’s charter schools. The monthslong legislative process culminated in significant reforms that will strengthen oversight of a charter industry repeatedly plagued by fraud, scandal and failing report cards.

“This legislation represents the best hope for meaningful charter reform in a state moving toward the privatization of our public education system,” said Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown). “With the passage of HB 2, charter schools across the state will finally be held accountable to parents, students, and taxpayers.”

HB 2 requires charter school operators to report how they spend tax dollars, tightens rules on student attendance and changes how the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) rates charter sponsors. Other changes include cracking down on “ineffective” sponsors, improving education standards and increasing accountability and transparency for Ohio’s oft-ridiculed charter school system.

One last-minute change made to HB 2 in conference committee that did raise concerns among lawmakers was a restriction blocking new teachers at charter schools from being a part of the state pension system. The change will affect newly hired charter school teachers working directly for charter operators rather than the school districts that provide the majority of charter school funding.

“Any restriction that threatens the retirement security of Ohio teachers deeply concerns me,” added Lepore-Hagan. “I expect the majority to uphold their promise to address this last minute change in the near future.”

House Bill 2 passed the Ohio House by a vote of 91-6.