ODE Contracting Out It's Charter Oversight Responsibilities - Thinks it Will Only Take 600 Man-hours

ODE is preparing to outsource its Charter School Oversight to a private company and thinks it will only take 600 man-hours.

A weekend Gongwer report on the catastrophic failure of Ohio's charter school sponsors, provided some additional details on the expected process

On the new evaluations, 21 sponsors were rated poor, which means they are facing losing their authority to sponsor schools. Unless they file and win appeals of the ratings, their nearly 30 schools will likely be turned over to ODE's Office of School Sponsorship.

The office, along with 38 other sponsors, was rated ineffective. While that rating equates to those sponsors being prohibited from taking on new schools, ODE is exempt from the sanctions.


The sponsors who were rated poor will lose their licenses 30 days after the release of the evaluations unless they appeal to Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria. He must appoint an independent officer to hear the appeal within 30 days of it being submitted.

The hearing officer's report will be reviewed by the State Board of Education, which will have 45 days to determine whether the revocation of sponsorship authority should stand, according to state law.

Because the school year is underway, any schools run by sponsors whose authorities are revoked will turn over to ODE. Those schools then have this school year and two additional to find different sponsors.

But buried in this report is the shocking news that ODE is not actually capable of performing its statutory duties, despite having months to prepare. Back to the Gongwer report

Following the release of the ratings, ODE's Director of School Sponsorship Mark Michael wrote in a Friday email to stakeholders that the agency is looking to beef up its staff in anticipation of taking on any schools that lose their sponsors.

"With the release of the sponsor evaluations, we are anticipating a substantial increase in the number of schools under our sponsorship," he wrote.

A bid posting says ODE would like proposals from contractors who can provide specified oversight, monitoring and technical assistance services for community schools.

The bid posting was only created a week ago, on October 6th. How could ODE be so asleep at the wheel as to wait that long? ODE has known since the passage of HB2 that it would require a far greater effort overseeing charter schools (as its ineffective rating more than demonstrates).

Why Does ODE need to privatize it's oversight function with this RFP? Why can't ODE simply hire experts in the field and perform the important function in house? Here is what ODE is looking for

On behalf of the Department, the contractor will:
• Implement Department policies, procedures and guidelines for monitoring and evaluating assigned sponsored community schools;
• Implement Department policies, procedures, and guidelines for the analysis and use of assigned sponsored community school academic and/or compliance data.
• Provide specialized program assistance to assigned sponsored community schools;
• Monitor assigned sponsored community schools for compliance with ORC, OAC and requirements of the community school contract (e.g., accountability and school performance/turnaround);
• Serve as point of contact for assigned sponsored community schools;
• Analyze data to determine technical assistance deficits;
• Provide technical assistance verbally and in writing to assigned sponsored community schools;
• Perform analysis and writes reports (e.g., evaluation reports for annual community school evaluations; recommendations for contract agreement changes, probation or termination);
• Perform analysis and writes reports regarding assigned sponsored community school’s academic performance regarding legal and contract requirements.
• Recommend training on various aspects of community school operations, which may include state reporting systems (e.g., EMIS, CSADM, CCIP, EMAD, FLICS);
• Attend board meetings in person or via phone per Department guidelines.
• Conduct opening assurances, fall and spring site visits using Department forms, processes and procedures;
• Work with the Department to verify and monitor each assigned community school’s implementation of and compliance with documentary submissions.
• Monitor the overall financial health of sponsored community schools;
• Perform monthly reviews of financials;
• Conduct monthly meetings with the school’s fiscal officer in person or via phone
• Prepare monthly reports regarding the fiscal operations of community schools identifying any areas of concern;
• Recommend intervention where appropriate

In order to successfully perform the Work, the contract must demonstrate some or all of the following competencies:
• Educational leadership;
• Curriculum;
• Instruction;
• Assessment;
• Special Education;
• English Learners;
• Other special education needs;
• Performance Management
• Accountability;
• Community School Finance and Fiscal monitoring/review;
• Facilities;
• Non-profit, public office governance and management;
• Governing Authority Relations;
• Technical Assistance-Identification/Response.
The contractor must be able to devote sufficient resources to fulfill these responsibilities on behalf of the Department; structure funding to avoid conflict of interests and keep the students’ interests in mind in the performance of the Work.

Even we think that's asking a lot at this late stage, but ODE's RFP gets even more ridiculous in its expectations. All of that, according to the RFP should not exceed 600 hours of total work.

Here's ODE's RFP