Sherrod Brown bill would force charters to follow sunshine laws

From The Akron Beacon Journal A U.S. Senator has introduced a bill to curb “fraud, abuse, waste, mismanagement and misconduct” in charter schools, especially those in his home state of Ohio where lawmakers have stalled on similar reforms.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat and former public school teacher, introduced this week the “Charter School Accountability Act of 2015”. The bill doesn’t increase or decrease the $253.1 million in federal dollars spent last year to expand high-quality charter schools or help new ones open.

But should the bill pass and states accept the federal dollars next year, there would be stipulations requiring added transparency and accountability.

“Most charter school operators are aiming to meet the needs of their students, but I want to make sure all Ohio’s children receive a high-quality education,” Brown said. “By strengthening charter school accountability and transparency, and increasing community involvement, we can prevent fraud that has unfortunately cropped up at some for-profit institutions.”

For example,">the bill would require charter schools in participating states to work with nearby school districts and communities to explain how neighborhoods would benefit before the charter schools can open.

In Ohio, more than 121,000 students and more than $1 billion in state and federal dollar go to charter schools. As a group, they perform below national standards while accounting for the majority of misspent tax dollars.

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