Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Do public schools risk loss of state funds over charter school issue?

I received this press release from the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law and am sharing it with all of you because we've had some discussion in the Toledo area about what buildings charter schools can go in.

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cincinnati Public Schools Forfeit State Construction Funding, State Legislator Says

1851 Center Sued CPS Over Handling of Charter Schools

Columbus - State Representative Kris Jordan, a member of the Ohio School Facilities Commission, yesterday notified commission director Richard Murray that Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) has forfeited its statutory right to project funding because of repeated violations of state charter schools provisions.

Rep. Jordan's action is a direct result of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law's ongoing litigation against CPS regarding its unfair treatment of charter schools. CPS has prohibited charter schools from purchasing buildings previously owned by the school district, a violation of state law.

"I strongly believe that violations have occurred, and, once again, I urge OSFC to follow the law and withhold CPS-related project funding until these matters are resolved," wrote Rep. Jordan in a letter to commission director Richard Murray. As a result of the violation, CPS potentially stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in state funding. According to CPS's facilities master plan, posted on its website, the state is contributing about 23 percent of the cost of an ongoing $1 billion school construction project.

"CPS has shown little regard for the laws put in place to protect charter schools from antagonistic school districts," said Maurice Thompson, executive director of the 1851 Center. "The law clearly stipulates that CPS should lose its facilities funding as a result. De-funding by the School Facilities Commission would send a strong message to school districts unwilling to co-existing with charter schools."

The 1851 Center is pro bono defending the Theodore Roosevelt School, a Cincinnati charter school CPS is trying to close. CPS is attempting to enforce a deed restriction prohibiting anyone from using any school building ever owned by CPS for a charter or private school. The 1851 Center asserts that such a restriction is void by Ohio's public policy in favor of school choice, and cheats taxpayers of sales revenue from the buildings.

A copy of Rep. Jordan's letter is available here.
The 1851 Center's court filings in the case are available here.

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law is non-profit, non-partisan legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse. The 1851 Center litigates constitutional issues related to property rights, voting rights, regulation, taxation, and search and seizures.



Mad Jack said...

What's their point? Are they just doing this out of spite or to eliminate competition, or what?

From the release: Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) has prohibited charter schools from purchasing buildings previously owned by the school district, a violation of state law.

Since when can CPS control what any other school does or does not do? Who died and made them king?

So in this case CPS will lose funding, but what can the mere civilians do about it? I don't mean on election day, either. I mean now, when their actions will have some meaning and maybe solve a problem.

Maggie Thurber said...

Mad Jack - the 1851 Center is suing over this...they're a non-profit entity. If you want to help the fight, you could make a donation to them, I'm sure.

Otherwise, talking to friends and neighbors about this sort of stuff is the most effect way to inform and persuade....

It doesn't sound like much, but when more and more people do it...

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