State School Board Member Requests Federal Audit of ODE Charter Compliance Group

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) charter school oversight department came under heavy fire after the department head David Hansen, husband of Beth Hansend, Gov Kasich's chief of staff and now Presidential campaign manager, illegally excluded online online charter schools from charter sponsor ratings. He resigned in advance of being fired.

Subsequently, it was revealed he had also falsified an application to the US Department of Education (USDoE), minimizing charter school failures (by 950%!) and artificially boosting their performances in order to obtain a $71 million grant for charter school expansion.

ODE was forced to reissue the grant application to USDoE. Only now it appears they have been back at their old tricks, once again attempting to defraud the US Tax Payer by omitting online charter schools from their grant application.

 What ODE is trying to hide

What ODE is trying to hide

In light of the obvious corruption within ODE's, State School Board member A.J.Wagner has requested that the USDoE audit ODE and it's charter school compliance group. Here's his letter:

Stefan Huh, Director
Charter Schools Program
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202
(via email)

Re: Charter Schools Program; Grant Award No. U282A150023

Dear Director Huh,

In your letter of November 4, 2015 to Dr. Richard Ross, then Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Ohio, you stated, “Once we receive this information and responses to the above requests, the Department will decide whether we need further information or whether further actions or conditions are warranted. This may include requiring ODE to provide the Department with a report, on an expedited basis, from an independent auditor chosen in consultation with the department using, ‘agreed upon procedures’ to help determine, among other things, whether ODE is implementing its charter school authorizer evaluation and rating system in accordance with relevant state law, regulations, policies and procedures.”

I write you, not on behalf of the Ohio Board of Education or the Department of Education but, as the elected member to the Board of Education representing more than one million Ohio citizens to express the need for an independent audit as suggested in your earlier letter.

Since September of 2015, I have sought such an audit (by Ohio law, a study) by proposed resolution (copy attached). Although a majority of the elected members of our board, representing a clear majority of Ohio’s citizens have favored such an investigation, the proposed study has been turned back by the appointed members of the board.

Ever since it came to light last summer that an employee of ODE was falsely reporting charter school data, I have wanted to clear the name of ODE. Since then we have discovered that Dr. Ross was conducting secret meetings for the takeover of the schools in Youngstown while the board was lied to time and again about his involvement. The Cleveland Plain Dealer had significant trouble getting public records from ODE while first being told that Dr. Ross seldom uses email and then being told that his emails were too voluminous to provide. Board members have been directed to cease all direct communications with ODE employees. ODE requires sponsors to investigate any complaints to ODE against the sponsor’s schools and then blindly accepts the sponsors conclusions in the face of contradictory evidence. Now, in the responses you have received from ODE regarding their application for the subject grant, we find that almost one-third of charter students, those attending on line schools, were excluded from the disclosure of high and low performing schools.

I would love to have Ohio receive the $71 million grant awarded last fall, well performing charter schools could use the help, but not if it is based on deception. I do not want to be a part of such deceptions, and I truly believe the only way USDOE, or Ohio’s citizens can know the truth of this or future applications, and whether they will be objectively administered, is through an independent audit which our elected board members have not been able to achieve.

Sincerely,

A.J. Wagner, Member
Ohio Board of Education
District 3