Ohio school board votes to reopen charter schools

A suburban Cincinnati school board on Tuesday voted unanimously to reopen some of its charter schools, the latest effort by some Ohio districts to ease overcrowding that has forced parents and schools to shutter amid soaring costs and soaring student absences.

The Ohio Board of Education voted to open some of the charter schools at a meeting Monday after a six-month delay that some lawmakers say was necessary to save money amid soaring enrollment.

It’s the latest move by some state and local governments to make charter schools more accessible, allowing them to offer better options for students with limited English proficiency.

But charter school operators say they are unable to offer the same kind of instruction that traditional public schools do, and many say the lack of a standardized test could limit the quality of instruction and the impact of the closures on families.

The charter schools were closed in February after Ohio’s second-highest court ruled that they were not subject to the state’s strict education standards, which require public schools to provide “high standards of student learning, student instruction and student achievement.”

The charter school boards voted Monday to reopen the schools, after months of deliberation, after some lawmakers said it was necessary because of rising costs.

The state’s Department of Education says charter school enrollment has dropped nearly 11 percent this year.

The board of charter schools in Marion, Butler and Cleveland had already closed in 2014, but some parents and students said they would reopen if the board did.

Many parents and parents of students with disabilities complained that the schools did not have enough help.