Last week we started looking at an August 29, 2013 Columbus Dispatch article announcing David Hansen was joining the Ohio Department of Education:
The Department of Education has hired the husband of Gov. John Kasich’s chief of staff to a new position that will oversee the expansion of school choice in Ohio.
David J. Hansen, former president of the conservative Buckeye Policy Institute and husband to Kasich’s chief of staff Beth Hansen, is the state’s first executive director for the office of quality school choice and funding.
The “Office of Quality School Choice and Funding” has an odd name and not much of a reputation. A Google search shows that Education.Ohio.gov has approximately 32,100 pages. Of those, about 60, or two tenths of a percent, directly mention the department. As for Hansen himself, only 9 of those 32,000 plus pages bear his name.
People at the ODE are not only confused about who runs the office, they’re confused about what it’s called:
- A December 7, 2012 memo from someone who identifies herself as working in that department calls it the “Office of Quality School Choice and Finance.”
- The August 29, 2013 Dispatch article, which quotes an ODE spokesman, calls it the “office of quality school choice and funding.”
- Minutes from a December 9, 2013 ODE meeting call it the “Office of Quality School Options.”
- ODE’s directory page calls it the “Office of Quality School Choice.”
And who works there? Well, your answer will depend on which section of the ODE’s website you visit first. An ODE newsletter dated August 21, 2014 lists only the following people as contacts for the Office of Quality School Choice:
- Sue Cosmo, Director
- Stacy Cherry, Consultant
However, ODE’s “Community Schools Contact” page lists three completely different people as the only employees working in the Office of Quality School Choice:
- David Hansen, Executive Director
- Faith Behringer, Assistant Director
- Sarah JanTausch, Assistant to the Executive Director
So how many people work there? 3 or 5?
Sue Cherry and Stacy Comso were paid nearly a third of a million dollars during 2012 and 2013. Were they reporting to Bode, Hansen, someone completely different, or both of them? It may have been the latter. A December 31, 2013 report from the Ohio Open Enrollment Task Force lists both Eric Bode and David Hansen as “Executive Director, ODE.”
It is astounding that an outfit that is supposed to ensure Ohio’s charter schools are well-managed can’t even get its own name or its employees straight.