Charter School Failure Leaves State, Students Scrambling

The controversial sponsor of eight northeast Ohio charter schools is going out of existence and the state is trying to help the schools come up with alternatives.

Last summer, the state accused the Portage County Educational Service Center of trying to open a charter in Cincinnati. That would have violated a rule that prohibits sponsors of poor-performing charter schools from opening new ones.

The center says it’s been unfairly targeted. But Ohio Department of Education spokesman John Charlton says the state is just doing its job.

“What we’re here to do is to make sure every student in the state is getting a quality education. And if you’re not holding up your end of the deal, then we’re going to question why you’re not doing that.”

Besides sponsoring the charters, the Portage Educational Service Center provides public school districts with joint purchasing, curriculum development and other services. But all 11 public districts in the county have decided to contract with someone else, forcing Portage to dissolve, making it the first educational service center in the state to do so.