Akron Beacon Journal, Jan. 3
This is the year that improved oversight, transparency and accountability come to charter schools in Ohio. State lawmakers finally have taken action to repair a governing system that has become the object of national ridicule, charter schools, many operated by for-profit management firms, tapping into public revenues without delivering adequately in the classroom. Now there is the opportunity for something much better …
Take the Next Frontier Academy in Akron … What he discovered is that state auditors found the records so poorly kept that they couldn’t determine precisely how much public money was squandered. What is known is that the state routed $531,000 to the academy the past three years.
Because of the shabby record-keeping, auditors could not reach firm conclusions about school enrollment and finances. Thus, conveniently enough, the Next Frontier story could not be included in the information sent to federal investigators.
Next Frontier wasn’t alone, the records of other charter schools in similar disarray. That left the state in position to offer a rosier tally of the repayment required of poor performing charter schools …
Which gets to the opening for state school superintendent, Richard Ross having stepped down amid the recent turmoil. Here is a chance for Ohio to break cleanly with its dismal past, adding leadership determined to elevate the financial and academic performance of charter schools.