Ohio charter schools may be charging taxpayers for empty seats; Akron’s White Hat among those cited

Thirty auditors fanned out across Ohio last fall to count the students sitting in 30 charter schools and compare totals with the numbers those schools claimed in order to receive taxpayer dollars.

In a school in Youngstown, they found zero students, though the school had received enough state aid to educate 152. Dropout recovery schools operated by Akron-based White Hat Management were among the worst.

“I was shocked to find that 50 percent [attendance] seems to be the average” among one particular type of school, said State Auditor Dave Yost, who launched the “old-school” investigation because of recent allegations that charter schools might be inflating enrollment figures.

Yost, a Republican, held a news conference at the statehouse Thursday to announce the findings that create yet one more blemish on Ohio’s $1 billion charter school sector.

The report follows failed proposals by minority House and Senate Democrats who want to reform charter schools. It also comes amid a Republican Senator’s efforts to rewrite Ohio’s charter school law and landed in Columbus a week before supporters descend upon the state capital to celebrate School Choice Week.

(Read more at Ohio.com)