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State says Portage County tried to dodge Ohio charter school law
Portage Educational Service Center is accused of trying to reopen what was the troubled VLT school in Cincinnati

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M.L. Schultze
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The state is accusing a Portage County education group of breaking the law by trying to reopen a troubled charter school 250 miles away. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the dispute.

LISTEN: Portage County and its charter school history

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The Portage County Educational Service Center has been suspended from opening new charter schools for nearly a year. But the Ohio Department of Education says the Northeast Ohio group “is actively and intentionally circumventing the law” by recruiting students and staff for a school in Cincinnati

The education department’s John Charlton with the Ohio Department of Education says the distance alone is a problem. The law requires sponsors to be in contiguous areas to the schools. 

“And the schools they have sponsored have not performed well. They’re not allowed to open or sponsor a new school right now either. So there are several issues with the Portage County ESC trying to open this school." 

The state has referred Portage Superintendent Dewey Chapman and Executive Director Cheryl Emrich to the state’s Office of Professional Conduct, which could take actions ranging from reprimands to revoking Portage’s authority to operate any charter school.

The Educational Service Center did not return a call for comment. 

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