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Study: For-Profit Charter Schools Spend More Money On Administration

The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, managed by the for-profit Altair Learning Management, was the state's largest online charter school when it shut down last year. ECOT closed owing millions to the state for students it claimed were enrolled.
Dan Konik
/
Statehouse News Bureau
The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, managed by the for-profit Altair Learning Management, was the state's largest online charter school when it shut down last year. ECOT closed owing millions to the state for students it claimed were enrolled.

Ohio's charter schools are by law non-profit, but nearly 200 of them are managed by for-profit operating companies. A new study by an anti-charter school group says charters run by for-profit operators spend a lot more money on non-classroom costs than traditional public schools do.

Steven Dyer with the research group Know Your Charter looked at financial expenditure reports at the Ohio Department of Education.

Dyer said the 178 schools run by for-profit charter operators spend $1,167 more per pupil on non-instructional administrative costs than traditional schools – 73% more than the average traditional district, and three times what the major urban districts spend.

"If they were spending what big urban districts were spending on administration, we would have been able to save taxpayers $51 million," Dyer said.

Dyer said some schools are too far in debt to those for-profit operators to abandon them. 

A report from former Auditor Dave Yost also found that charter schools are renting buildings at far higher than market rate, which also comes out of taxpayer funds.

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder has said he wants to consider banning charters from working with for-profit management companies.