Dropout Prevention and Recovery (DOPR) schools have struggled to weather the storm of increasing regulations, changes in testing and graduation requirements. These schools are charter schools, many of which have been under fire from politicians on both sides of the aisle.
Change came with new State Board of Education (SBE) members this year. Lisa Woods, an elected member from District 5, introduced a resolution at the April SBE meeting to address DOPR issues. Resolution 19 was created to, “form a work group to study the status and application of current regulatory requirements for dropout prevention and recovery schools.” The motion for Resolution 19 passed unanimously.
The Resolution stated it would study the status and application of current regulatory requirements for DOPR schools. The makeup of the group included the Chair John Hagan and Vice-Chair Lisa Woods of the SBE Assessment and Accountability Committee, at least four representatives from DOPR schools and an ex-officio member, an attorney from the Attorney General’s office. The work group was not to exceed nine people.
“Over the past year, the State Board became aware of instances where DOPR schools with documented track records of success had been subjected to unclear regulatory requirements that threatened the viability of these beneficial programs,” stated Woods. “The state has a strong interested in serving at-risk youth and allowing schools to offer flexibility in meeting the needs of students who have struggled in the rigid requirements of the traditional classroom.”
Woods continued, “To ensure that the regulatory structures align with law and public policy, the State Board created this DOPR workgroup to study the current state of regulations, including their legal support and underlying policy interests, and develop recommendations the align with state goals. It is our hope that by including DOPR schools and stakeholders in the process, our regulatory recommendations will help promote success among the students who need the most support.”
Dave Cash, a member of the work group and President of Charter School Specialists, declared, “Amazing and much needed leadership by State Board leaders John Hagan and Lisa Woods. I am honored to have been selected for their work group.”
“Three meetings have occurred so far and what seems to be clear is just how much work needs done to remove obstacles that these schools have had to work against to redirect students the have dropped out of school towards diplomas, credentials, certifications and ultimately into Ohio’s work force,” said Cash.
House Bill 166, the budget, also creates a ‘study committee’ for DOPR schools. The budget has not yet passed, and actual education policy remains up in the air. There are currently 69 DOPR schools throughout the state, several of which are in danger of being permanently closed if the regulatory excesses cannot be addressed this year.
“Since 1998 these schools have graduated and prepared thousands of Ohio’s citizens for college and careers. Citizens who might have been lost,” Cash shared with The Ohio Star. “I am excited for this opportunity that the leadership of The State Board of Education has made possible. No levy dollars are ever used to support these schools. For every 25,000 students served by Charters, the state saves approximately $125 million. It’s a great deal for the state, but a better deal for the kids.”
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