When charter schools burst onto Ohio’s education scene about 15 years ago, proponents claimed they could educate at-risk children better and more cheaply than traditional public schools. Today, the reality is quite different — and alarming.
Charter schools cost the state more than twice as much per student as traditional schools do. And with a handful of exceptions, their academic performance is worse.
Ohio’s system of deducting charter-school funding from the amount of state aid to school districts gives charters more money than they spend.
Meanwhile, students in traditional schools — who account for 90 percent of Ohio’s school population — get, on average, 6.5 percent less funding than the state says they need and are entitled to receive.
Most of the money transferred to charters goes to schools whose students’ performance scores are worse than in the school districts from which that money and those students came. Clearly, reform is in order.
Since Gov. John Kasich and the General Assembly are developing a new school funding system as part of the 2014-15 state budget, there couldn’t be a better time for change.