Ohio Democratic Party Statement on Ohio Supreme Court Ruling on Charters

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Democratic Party released the following statement in response to today’s Ohio Supreme Court ruling in Hope Academy Broadway Campus v. White Hat Management, which found that for-profit charter school operators can retain property that was purchased with taxpayer dollars.

“With today’s ruling, the Ohio Supreme Court has sided with the same for-profit charter school operators that are failing our kids,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “Once again, the Ohio taxpayers are being forced to foot the bill for the failures of the for-profit charter school industry. This industry has behaved with impunity, and the Ohio GOP machine — from Governor Kasich to Attorney General DeWine to Auditor Yost to the legislature — has refused to hold them accountable. That’s why we need an independent investigation — with real autonomy and authority — to look into what was happening at the Ohio Department of Education with the ‘Chartergate’ data scrubbing and cover-up.

“The decision comes as tens of millions of public dollars are missing across Ohio in the wake of charter school failures, not to mention thousands of kids caught up in Ohio’s nationally derided charter school industry.”

From Justice Paul Pfeifer’s dissent:

“Moreover, the contracts in this case are plainly and obviously unconscionable. In effect, the contracts call for the public to give money to a company to buy materials for the company to use on the public’s behalf to operate a public school. The contracts require that after the public pays to buy those materials for a public use, the public must then pay the companies if it wants to retain ownership of the materials. This contract term is not merely unwise as the opinion would have us believe; it is extremely unfair, so unfair, in fact, as to be unconscionable. The contract term is so one-sided that we should refuse to enforce it.”

From Justice Bill O’Neill’s dissent:

“This contract does indeed permit an operator who is providing a substandard education to squander public money and then, upon termination for poor performance, reap a bonus, paid for by public money. And that is why this contract is unenforceable as a matter of public policy and contract law.”