Nearly $31 Million in Taxpayer Funds Uncollected from Failed Charter Schools

Last night on NBC 4 in Columbus, Investigative Reporter Duane Pohlman revealed that of the $31 million owed the state by operators of charters schools that have closed and have been referred for collection to Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office, $30.5 million remains uncollected.

That’s $30.5 million in taxpayer dollars that have remained uncollected by the state’s Attorney General. For scale, that is more than the state ends up sending to 128 of Ohio’s 612 school districts.

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The report, which features an interview with Innovation Ohio’s Education Policy Fellow Stephen Dyer, details as well how difficult it is to collect from defunct charter schools because some don’t even have the minimal $100,000 bonds the state requires of them.

A relatively simple solution to this conundrum is to require that charter schools carry as much insurance as would cover at least the average amount spent annually on a charter school of its size and type, as well as hold the charter school sponsors to account for any additional revenue that cannot be collected from the school itself.

It remains to be seen whether Ohio’s leaders are willing to take this on, but with more reporting like Pohlman’s, it will remain more and more difficult to stand up for this clearly dysfunctional system that rewards scofflaws and shuns high-quality charter schools.