More charter school controls wanted by the left and by Auditor Yost on the right

Charter school reform proposals are gaining broad support in Columbus, but there are voices on both the left and the right who say the $1 billion charter school movement in Ohio needs even stronger controls than what has been proposed.

Both Gov. John Kasich and Republicans in the Ohio House have made separate proposals to change the oversight and management of charter schools - public schools open to anyone, but which are privately-run.

A third proposal is coming soon from the Ohio Senate.

While both proposals so far are receiving praise for taking on some important issues, some want them to go further.

Auditor Yost wants clearer rules

State Auditor Dave Yost, also a Republican, said he plans to give the legislature his own suggested changes early next month. Those will include requiring more financial reporting by charter schools and the private companies that often run them, along with better definition of the role of those companies.

"I don't think that what needs to happen is on the table yet," Yost told The Plain Dealer.

Among Yost's concerns: that Ohio has no clear definition of when a charter school is acting as a private organization or when they take on a governmental role in educating children. That leaves private organizations receiving large amounts of tax money that don't have much accountability to the public.

The complaints from the left, coming this week from the Innovation Oho think tank and the Ohio Education Association, are mostly predictable. Both are groups that have been critics of charter schools.

But while they both want bad charter schools closed faster and want better financial reporting, they and most Democrats aren't fighting to shut down the charter movement, just the worst schools.

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