Brenner also questioned whether Schiavoni and other Democrats did enough on previous charter reform bills to get buy-in from Republicans.
Pepper said Republicans haven’t supported them because charter school operators are major financial contributors to state Republican leadership. He pointed to the fact that Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger and Auditor of State Dave Yost have spoken at the past two graduation ceremonies for ECOT, despite the online school’s “F” ratings on state report cards.
Chad Aldis, Vice President for Ohio Policy and Advocacy at the Fordham Institute, a charter sponsor, took a broader view. He said the charter reforms Ohio has passed were needed and were major changes, “so it’s normal to expect some bumps in the road” in implementation.
But he warned that even when the sponsor evaluation issue gets decided, charter policy is contentious enough that “it’s not like everybody’s just going to hold hands.”
Schiavoni and Pepper also repeated complaints from last year that Ohio’s funding system takes too much money from public schools when a student leaves for a charter school. They cited $12 million in Montgomery County alone being diverted to charter schools.
Aldis challenged that argument, saying the Democrats were looking only at one school funding source (state dollars), rather than seeing the big picture that charter schools generally spend less per student than district schools, because they don’t pass tax levies.