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Ohio House Relaxes Oversight of Online Charter Schools Despite Opposition


A northeast Ohio lawmaker was one of a dozen House Republicans who voted against the two-year, $63.7 billion state budget this week.

WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair reports that changes to charter school oversight is one of the reasons behind Kristina Roegner’s no vote.

First, Roegner, whose 37th House district covers northern Summit County, lists things that she liked about the bill.

“Spending, for the first time that I can remember, was under the rate of inflation,” says Roegner, even though she says the House could have done more to cut spending. Roegner also likes a provision that adjusts property taxes for farmers.

But the lawmaker says amendments inserted into the bill that would undo her 2015 legislation tightening evaluations of charter-school sponsors surprised her.

“And when I saw in the budget that there were these changes that no one had talked about or discussed and I was afraid that some of them would water down the accountability standards, I said, ‘Whoa, wait a minute.’”

Despite the no votes, the budget bill passed with the provisions that allow sponsors of online charter schools to retain state funding even if the schools receive failing grades.

Roegner predicts the Senate will strip those amendments from its version of the budget.

Jeff is your average chemist turned radio host and reporter. He currently hosts middays on WKSU and has reported extensively on science, politics, business, and the environment.