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10th Period: Follow the Money....

Yesterday, I tried to sound the alarm about how Ohio Charter Schools shouldn’t be ignored, despite culture and voucher war focus this election year.

In order to reinforce the urgency of this, I thought I’d dig into how Ohio’s public and charter schools spend money. What you’ll notice is while Ohio’s public schools spend their money on kids, far more — and by far more, I mean nearly double the commitment — is spent on the adults in charters who don’t actually teach kids1.

Here’s the bottom line: If Ohio Charter Schools spent the same amount on administrative costs as Ohio’s public school districts, they would have at least an additional $142 million to spend on kids — roughly the total amount Parma City Schools spent last year.

As you can see, Ohio’s Charter Schools spend almost 1 in 4 of its dollars on non-instructional administrators2. Ohio’s public school districts spend about 1 in 8 on these non-instructional folks.

No Ohio school district spends as much on administrators as the average Ohio Charter School.

Let me say that again.

No Ohio school district spends as much on administrators as the average Ohio Charter School.


If charters spent on administrators what Ohio’s public schools spent, charters would have at least $142 million more to spend on instructional and support costs. That would mean they could be spending even more on instruction than school districts, but they choose instead to spend on administrators who don’t teach kids.

And some charters spend more than 1/2 of their money on administrators. I’ve listed all that do here:


By way of reference, the largest percentage any school district spends on administration is 24.5 percent (the average charter spends 24.9 percent).

So the next time you hear the “let’s put more money in the classroom” canard, tell that person to start reforming the way Ohio Charter Schools spend their money. Then we’ll talk.


1. This is all analyzed from the Ohio Department of Education’s Expenditure Flow Model, which is issued with each year’s report card here:…

2. Instruction is teachers, pupil and staff supports are tutors and secretaries, and operations support is primarily busing and building maintenance. Ohio school districts are required to bus students to charters and private schools under state law.

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Stephen Dyer

Stephen Dyer is the Education Policy Fellow at Innovation Ohio. He also practices law in the Akron, Ohio area. Previously he was the State Representative for the ...