State Representative Mike Dovilla (R-Berea) today announced House passage of House Bill 2, legislation he sponsored to strengthen Ohio’s charter school system.
“Ohio has a long history of supporting school choice,” said Rep. Dovilla, who joint-sponsored the bill. “House Bill 2 provides viable, meaningful, and comprehensive reforms to charter school statutes, improving responsibility, transparency, and accountability for this educational option.”
Focusing primarily on issues of transparency, responsibility and accountability, House Bill 2 represents the most comprehensive piece of stand-alone legislation on the subject of charter schools in 12 years, particularly in the areas of charter school governance.
Among the major provisions of the legislation is greatly reducing the potential for conflicts of interests among school sponsors. The bill prohibits school sponsors from selling goods or services to the schools they authorize, as well as prohibiting employees of schools districts or educational service centers (ESC) from serving on the governing authority of a charter school sponsored by that particular district or ESC.
One way House Bill 2 enhances transparency is by requiring charter school sponsors to annually report expenditures that have been made for the purposes of providing oversight or technical assistance to the charters they authorize. Similarly, all governing board members of a charter to disclose transactions made with immediate relatives or associates who have done business with the school over the past three years.
Other provisions of House Bill 2 include:
- Prohibiting district school board members from serving on charter school boards
- Requiring school treasurers to be directly employed by, or under contract to, the charter school governing authority
- Requiring that a charter school sponsor, as opposed to a contracted agent, meet with the Auditor of State regarding enrollment, financial records and audits
- Requiring the Ohio Department of Education to publish an annual performance report for all charter schools in the state, to be published on ODE’s website
- Requiring that contracts between sponsors and charter schools contain performance measures that include state report card measures
- Requiring governing authority members, administrative and supervisory staff to receive annual training on open meetings and public record laws
Having passed the House with bipartisan support, the bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.