The Ohio House has launched hearings on legislation to clamp down on failing charter schools.

House Bill 2 would block sponsors of poor-performing charters from contracting for new locations, increase public access to information about school performance and their backers and require more standards in charter agreements.

The legislation, which had its initial hearing before the House's Education Committee Wednesday, is one of several efforts under way to address charter school accountability. The head of the Ohio Senate's Education Committee has said her chamber also is working on the issue, and Gov. John Kasich included charter provisions in his biennial budget proposal.

Rep. Mike Dovilla, R-Berea, a primary co-sponsor of HB 2, said charter school enrollment has grown from about 2,200 students at 15 locations in 1999 to 120,000-plus students at 400 charters.

"Although community schools provide an important option for many Ohio students, there is an inconsistency with regard to the overall quality of community schools," he said. "Some of Ohio's community schools are among the highest performing schools in the state, having also received national recognition for outstanding academic performance. At the same time we have seen evidence of poor academic performance and fiscal mismanagement driven in part by poor oversight and a lack of clarity of roles and responsibilities, circumstances that HB 2 is designed to address."

Among other provisions, the legislation would block charter schools that receive failing performance index grades from entering contracts with new sponsors without approval from the Department of Education.

(Read more at Crescent-News