State Accuses Educational Organization Of Illegal Activity

Aug 28, 2014

Franklin County prosecutors are reviewing a state audit accusing a former school superintendent of spending public money on himself. 

The audit says Bart Anderson spent nearly 100 thousand dollars on fancy hotels and alcohol while leading the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio. The audit has forced the school to change a host of its financial policies. Meanwhile, the Ohio Department of Education is accusing an educational service center in Portage County of illegally attempting to reopen a charter school in Cincinnati. Bill Rice of member station WCPN in Cleveland reports.

Department of Education spokesman John Charlton says the Portage County Educational Service Center violated three laws in sponsoring what was being called Hope4Change Academy.  First, the ESC isn’t authorized to sponsor new charter schools because of the poor performance of its existing ones.  Second, state law only allows an ESC to sponsor charter schools in its own territory or adjoining counties, and the Hope4Change location is 250 miles away in Cincinnati.  And third, administrators at Portage County ESC tried to open the school using the identification number of a previously closed charter school.  
Charlton says the school had already recruited about thirty students before the department stepped in.  
CHARLTON:  We’ve ordered that school now to make sure that they share that information with the Cincinnati schools and Cincinnati diocese and other schools in the area, so that these students can be placed into legitimate schools.   
The department says Portage County ESC has “ so completely disregarded\” state law that the ESC it is reporting the Superintendent Dewey Chapman and vice President Cheryl Emrich to the state’s Office of Professional Conduct. Portage County ESC hasn\’t returned phone calls seeking comment.