Ohio’s mostly failing charter schools continue to grow

Recent policy changes will contribute to an already growing number of new brick & mortar and online charter schools – the vast majority of which are failing – and increase the amount of state funding lost by children attending traditional public schools to nearly $1 billion annually.

Three new eSchools have been approved to operate in Ohio in the 2013-2014 school year – the first new statewide eSchools to launch since the state imposed a ban on new schools in 2005. The three new schools are Provost Academy, Mosaica Ohio, and Insight School of Ohio, the latter an imprint of the troubled K-12 chain of online schools.

Based on enrollment projections contained in these schools’ applications[i] and a 1,000 student enrollment cap for the first year of operation, Innovation Ohio estimates that these schools will educate up to 1,600 Ohio students in 2013-2014 and up to 2,925 in 2014-2015. At the level statewide eSchools are funded in Ohio’s latest budget bill ($6,677 per pupil), this could mean up to $10.6 million deducted from state funding to traditional public districts in the first year and $19.5 million in the second.

eschool payments
Projected Losses to New eSchools

Also opening this fall are 49 new brick and mortar charter schools. Using a projection of pupil funding of $7,691, developed by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission during the most recent budget bill (HB 59), IO estimates that if enrollment at these schools mirrors that at other brick and mortar charter schools, each will collect $1.7 million from the state per year for a total of $83 million in new annual charter school deductions.

The new two-year budget also raised the level of funding for Ohio’s existing charter schools by $30 million, from $824 million in 2012-2013 to $854 million in 2013-2014.

Projecting Future Losses to Ohio Charter Schools
Projected Losses to Ohio charter schools

When all these effects are combined — more base funding, lifting the eSchool moratorium and 49 new brick and mortar charter schools, the amount of funding deducted for charter schools in Ohio could increase by as much as $124 million this year, bringing the total that is redirected from traditional public schools to $948 million. (“as much as” because this analysis assumes that new eSchools and charters are pulling kids from traditional public districts and not other charters)

charter payment trend

If that holds, since Gov, John Kasich has been in office, the amount of money traditional public school children are losing to charter schools will have increased by about one-third.[ii] It is quite likely that by the end of his first term, Gov. Kasich will be the first Ohio Governor to witness charter schools removing more than $1 billion from children in traditional school districts.

 


[i]  And in two cases, Pennsylvania — curiously, Ohio’s application doesn’t require enrollment estimates. Applications: Provost, Mosaica-Ohio and Mosaica-PA, and Insight-Ohio and Insight-PA.

[ii] The Charter transfer in FY 11 – the year before Kasich took office – was $721 million. Gov. Strickland’s first three years saw a 28% increase in losses to Charters.