As writer Joe Williams, author of Cheating Our Kids: How Politics and Greed Ruin Education, pointed out in our February Ohio Gadfly, school districts in Ohio use a process called “flagging” to disrupt the finances of charter schools. Flagging is where districts challenge a charter student’s eligibility, thus holding up the money for the student that the charter should receive. Given the animosity some districts feel toward charter schools, this sets up potential areas of conflict.
“This situation is akin to McDonald’s asking Burger King to sign off on payment every time a person ordered a Big Mac,” Williams wrote.
A flagging update: In recent days, Cincinnati Public Schools challenged the residency of 31 students at Harmony Community School, denying $100,000 owed to the school in state money. In another example, the Ohio Department of Education finally agreed to pay the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), the state’s largest online charter school, $263,000 in past due tuition after three years of audits revealed it was owed to the school.
Charter schools face enough financial challenges without their competition holding power over the ledgers.
“Ohio to Pay Online School,” by Dennis Willard and Doug Oplinger, Akron Beacon Journal, April 3, 2006.
“CPS Presses Residency Issue: District Challenges Charter Over 31 Students,” by Jennifer Mrozowski, Cincinnati Enquirer, April 4, 2006.