The Columbus Dispatch recently examined a series of failed charter schools, all closing last year, some a matter of months after opening. Now Dave Yost, the state auditor, has taken up the charge. On Wednesday, his office announced that it had opened investigations into three sponsors of charter schools.
This is how it should go, the auditor vigilant in tracking the use of public money. The Dispatch looked at 17 failures, nine closing quickly, due to money troubles, even health and safety problems, from unsanitary buildings to a lack of nutritious lunches for students. The nine consumed at least $1.6 million in taxpayer money.
Among the puzzles for the auditor to solve is how these schools received approval to open when from the start they apparently were poorly equipped. Sponsors play a key role in the formation of charter schools in Ohio. They can be a nonprofit organization, a university, a school district or an educational service center. They are supposed to provide oversight.
Too often the state has been lax in ensuring that charter schools deliver what they promise and what is required. This has infuriated successful charter schools and public schools. Dave Yost has sent the appropriate message. There is a state official ready to hold sponsors accountable.