E-Schools: Ohio’s Baddest Apples

With recent revelations that one of Ohio’s largest online charter schools (or “E-Schools”) – the Ohio Virtual Academy (OHVA) – was apparently paid for students who should have been dis-enrolled for chronic absence, it is important to examine how Ohio’s E-Schools are a significant drain on the state’s education dollar and account for many of the problems that plague Ohio’s poor-performing charter schools.

Four years ago, Innovation Ohio authored a look at Ohio’s E-Schools and found that the state was grossly overpaying these schools, while their operators provided huge campaign contributions to Ohio lawmakers. Since that time, while some E-Schools have seen slight performance improvements, the situation has gotten worse because now 10,000 more students attend and an additional $70 million are being spent on schools that, on average, graduate barely 35% of their students.

Our latest report shows emphatically that Ohio’s E-Schools are a significant contributor to Ohio’s overall poor charter school performance.

  • More than half of the money going from better performing Ohio school districts to worse performing charters goes to 6 statewide E-Schools
  • 98% of all the children attending charters that performed worse than their feeder districts on all the state’s report card measures went to the same six statewide Ohio E-Schools – at a cost of $72 million
  • Local Ohio taxpayers have had to subsidize $104 million of the cost of Ohio E-Schools because students in E-Schools receive so much more per pupil funding from the state than would their local public school.

Several provisions in Senate Bill 148 – currently before the Ohio Senate – would address some of the most pressing accountability needs in the E-School sector. However, they do not address the most glaring need – the need to reform how the state pays for its E-Schools.

Read the report: “E-Schools: Ohio’s Baddest Apples