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State needs to keep closer watch on charter schools

June 3, 2012
Morning Journal News

State oversight of private charter schools in Ohio has increased during the past few years, but it is clear more needs to be done to prevent fraud.

Charter schools, though operated privately, are eligible to receive state and federal funding. Sometimes it does not go toward educating children, however.

The former treasurer for more than a dozen Ohio charter schools, including some in Youngstown, Dayton and Columbus, has been charged with embezzling more than $470,000 in federal funds. Carl W. Shye Jr. took the money between 2006 and last year, prosecutors allege.

State Auditor Dave Yost's office uncovered evidence of wrongdoing - but, if prosecutors are right, Shye got away with it for six years before anyone took a good look at the affected schools' books.

Charter schools provide an important alternative to the public education system, but for too long they were merely handed taxpayers' money and urged to spend it wisely. As Shye's case shows, more needs to be done to ensure public funds help children, not unscrupulous adults.



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