COLUMBUS — Gov. Mike DeWine took $20,000 in contributions for his transition fund from charter school operators and supporters as charter lobbyists push for more state funds to be diverted to them in Ohio’s next biennial budget this year.
“Clearly Mike DeWine has learned nothing about accepting donations from charter school special interests trying to curry favor, which he did for years from ECOT founder Bill Lager and associates, as ECOT ripped off students and taxpayers by nearly $200 million with no accountability until it was too late,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “The question now is what these new donations might buy for the new crop of for-profit charters and their lobbyists, in addition to the access to Republican politicians during DeWine’s inauguration activities.”
Campaign finance records for the Mike DeWine and Jon Husted Transition Fund (2018) show $20,000 in donations from charter school interests. These include:
- $10,000 from for-profit charter manager Pansophic Learning LLC, which operates Accel Schools, the outfit behind the Cleveland Arts and Social Sciences Academy that has received failing grades from the Ohio Department of Education
- $5,000 from J.C. Huizenga, the founder of National Heritage Academies, a for-profit management company found in November by then-Auditor Dave Yost to be overbilling in rent for the Ohio charter schools they operate, “at the expense of those schools and the Ohio taxpayers,” according to a report issued by Yost
- $5,000 from for-profit charter manager K12 Management Inc., a large e-charter operator that took over an Ohio e-school from disgraced charter operator White Hat Management and sponsors the Ohio Virtual Academy, which requested that poor scores from transferred ECOT students be ignored during evaluations