WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) applauded the Ohio Department of Education’s decision to limit its use of grant money for charter schools, saying it is a sign that strong oversight of failed for-profit charter operators is beginning to work. Still the Senator is outraged that Ohio students are missing out on this investment because of bad actors.
“There’s no question that limiting this grant is the responsible thing to do to protect taxpayers from having even more of their hard-earned money squandered away,” said Brown. “But it’s shameful that Ohio students have to miss out on the full investment because of fraudulent data and shady charter operators that cannot be trusted. When it comes down to it, fraudulent for-profit operators stole from Ohio taxpayers and they stole from our students.”
The Ohio Department of Education announced today it will use just $49 million of the $71 million grant it received from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) in 2015. At the time ED awarded the grant to Ohio despite reports of fraud and abuse, Brown called on ED to increase its oversight over Ohio’s charter schools. ED implemented several of the oversight measures Brown had asked for, designating Ohio’s grant as “high-risk.” The restrictions are the most stringent ED has ever placed on a charter school grant recipient.
In July 2015, Brown introduced the Charter School Accountability Act in the U.S. Senate. Parts of the bill were included in the Every Child Achieves Act – legislation signed into law by the President to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Reauthorization Act. The bill would strengthen charter school accountability and transparency, prevent fraud, and increase community involvement.