Congressman Tim Ryan Responds to Temporary Hold on Ohio Charter School Grant Funds

Nov 4, 2015 Issues: Education

Youngstown, Ohio – Congressman Tim Ryan today responds to the U.S. Department of Education’s announcement that they are placing a temporary hold on funds and additional conditions on the Ohio Department of Education’s grant funding due to financial and academic irregularities of Ohio’s charter school program. The U.S. Department of Education has put in place a temporary “route payment” status on the Charter Schools Program State Educational Agencies (CSP SEA) funds awarded to Ohio Department of Education (ODE) under the FY 2015 grant competition. This will enable ODE to drawdown funds for this project only with the approval of an appropriate Department official. View the U.S. Department of Education letter here

“It is difficult to ask the federal government to withhold money that could—in theory—be put to good use, but the U.S. Department of Education did the right thing to slow down the process and ensure that these funds go to the children who need them the most. There has to be high accountability and transparency when it comes to how we educate our children, and I am pleased to see that the U.S. Department of Education has announced increased level of oversight on the implementation of Ohio’s $71 million charter school grant,” said Congressman Ryan. “The State of Ohio will now see a new level of scrutiny that will make sure that these education dollars are spent properly, which is what our children deserve. The U.S. Department of Education will withhold the money until Ohio provides an overview of the recent changes, including new personnel, the implementation of the charter reform legislation and the response to additional auditing.”

On October 1, 2015, Congressman Ryan urged the U.S. Department of Education to do just this, and place additional oversight and stricter restrictions on this grant awarded to Ohio. Find more information on Congressman Ryan’s letter to U.S. Department of Education here.

On October 5, 2015, Congressman Ryan sent a letter to request Ohio's original application for the grant to gain a better understanding of Ohio's goals for the funds. Learn more about Congressman Ryan's request to view the grant application here

On October 8, 2015, Congressman Ryan joined the Ohio Democratic Delegation in urging the Department of Education to seek more clarification about Ohio'a application and seek more oversight for the funds to charter schools in Ohio. Learn more about the letter here

On October 21, 2015, Congressman Ryan also introduced the Charter School Accountability Act to increase transparency and oversight of the U.S. charter school system – including the 123,000 Ohio students attending charter schools. Learn more about the Charter School Accountability Act here.