Ohio Senate leads on reform

A charter-school-reform bill introduced in the Ohio Senate Wednesday is a marked improvement over a similar measure in the House. Lawmakers should ensure that the bill that eventually is sent to the governor incorporates the rigor of the Senate version.

Senate Bill 148 not only strengthens important provisions that have been watered down in House Bill 2, but enjoys bipartisan support.

The primary sponsor, Senate Education Chairwoman Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering, has stood fast for school reforms despite pushback from those in her party beholden to for-profit charter-school operators, some of whom are major campaign contributors. In this bill, she stands up for taxpayers by insisting on greater transparency and accountability.

Lehner created an informal, bipartisan panel that spent months reviewing the changes needed to rid Ohio’s charter-school system of conflicts of interest and a lack of accountability.

What resulted was a strong bill co-sponsored by Lehner and Democratic state Sen. Tom Sawyer of Akron. Senators who showed their support by attending a press conference included Senate minority leader and Democrat Joe Schiavoni of Boardman and Republicans Frank LaRose of Copley and Shannon Jones of Springboro.

Also showing their support were state Reps. Kristina Roegner, R-Hudson, and John Patterson, D-Jefferson, and Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper.

(Read more at Dispatch)