“Once again, Ohio’s notorious White Hat Management company could be exempt from reforms. House Bill 2 would require contracts between schools and operators to delineate which gets what assets after the contracts expire. This misses the point: Neither should own the assets. They belong to the taxpayers who paid for them.”
The measure is the latest in a series of legislative efforts to protect White Hat, achain of consistently failing charter schools run by prolific GOP donor David Brennan. The House Education Committee began hearings on the charter school reform bill today.
The proposal comes as the Ohio Supreme Court is poised to rule on a long-standing case that could determine whether taxpayers or private companies own school property purchased with public money. The assets include real estate,furniture and computers.
The case pits White Hat against 10 school boards that previously employed the Akron-based company to run their schools. As the schools produced poor academic results, school board members asked White Hat how the public money had been spent.
White Hat refused to open its books. When the boards tried to toss out White Hat, White insisted it owned the assets and the school board members would be the ones who had to leave.
Much of the laissez-faire approach to Ohio’s poor performing charters can be traced to Brennan and William Lager, who runs the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow. The two of them have contributed about $6.4 million to Ohio politicians since 1998, with more than 98 percent going to Republicans, accordingto a recent analysis by KnowYourCharter.