Ohio charter-school-reform bill does not go far enough

This is the year when key officials -- from Gov. John Kasich and Ohio Democratic and Republican state lawmakers to opponents of charter schools and even some charter-school proponents -- had promised to reform the state's troubled charter-school system.

But the recent passage of House Bill 2, which allows sponsor-hopping among established charter schools and rejects Ohio Auditor Dave Yost's proposal that operating management companies should have to report some of their finances signals that, for all of the grand talk, Ohio's charter school reform may end up being far from comprehensive or significant.

The Senate should rise to the rescue. Ohio Sen. Peggy Lehner, a Republican from the Dayton-area, will present her bill soon and it must do what HB 2 has failed to do: Rein in charter schools so that youngsters get the best education possible and so that taxpayers can see where their money is going.

HB 2 does have some decent provisions -- it limits school leases to no more than 5 percent above market value, and forbids charter sponsors with the lowest ratings from the state from overseeing schools.

But it doesn't get to the core of the problems of Ohio's charter school system -- a system that spends hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars per year on schools subject to little public scrutiny or oversight and that are, in most parts of the state, even weaker academically than their public-school counterparts.

(Read more at Cleveland.com)