Belly Up: A Review Of Federal Charter School Program Grants

Our latest analysis of the performance of Ohio Charter schools that have received federal Charter School Program (CSP) grants finds a staggering high rate of failure. At least 108 of the 292 charter schools that have received federal CSP funding since the 2006-07 school year have either closed or never opened.

CSP grants are geared toward the development and expansion of new charter schools, which can be a high-risk proposition. The 292 Ohio charter schools received $99.6 million in federal aid. $30 million went to the 108 schools that either closed or never opened.

Among our other findings:

  • Of those that failed, at least 26 Ohio charter schools that received nearly $4 million in federal CSP funding apparently never even opened and there are no available records to indicate that these public funds were returned;
  • The charter schools that have received CSP funding and received State Report Card grades in the 2014-2015 school year had a median Performance Index score that was lower than all but 15 Ohio school districts and would have been graded as a D.

Read our report: Belly Up: A Review of Federal Charter School Program Grants.

Also mentioned in the report: 2009 WestEd Assessment of Ohio’s CSP Program