Columbus – Today, State Senator Michael J. Skindell (D-Lakewood) responded to the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision in Hope Academy Broadway Campus v. White Hat Management by urging the Ohio Senate to pass SB 59—legislation that clarifies public funds paid to a charter school remain public funds.  The Supreme Court decided, based on current law, that charter school operators and not the schools themselves own property such as computers and desks purchased with tax dollars.

“This legislation is needed now more than ever to provide clarity about the ownership of school property purchased with public funds,” said Senator Skindell.  “The schools in this case performed so poorly that two of them were shut down, yet they are being rewarded by walking away with property that Ohio taxpayers paid for.”

Senate Bill 59 would do the following to protect taxpayers:

  • Declare that all state funds paid by a charter school to an operator or management company for services rendered maintain their status as public money.
  • Specify that personal property acquired with public money for use in the operation of a charter school is property of the school and not property of the operator or management company.
  • Require the personal property acquired by an operator of a charter school that permanently closes be redistributed to the resident school districts of the students who were enrolled in the charter school at the time it ceased operation.

“The legislation does not interfere with these private operators making a profit,” added Senator Skindell.  “But, it does make clear that any profits must be earned after they have fulfilled their contractual, fiduciary and statutory duties to the schools and their students.”

So far SB 59 has had one hearing in the Senate Education Committee.

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