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Court: Charter schools must comply with records laws

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The U.S. Court of Appeals in Cleveland (6th Cir.) ruled last week that charter schools must comply with various state…

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Cleveland (6th Cir.) ruled last week that charter schools must comply with various state regulations, including public records and open meetings laws, just like traditional public schools.

The unanimous three-judge panel upheld the district court’s decision that charter schools can’t depend on the federal Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause when the state stops payment on public funds since they are government entities created by the state.

The panel also stressed that charter schools must conform to general state regulations since they are funded by taxpayers’ money.

“They are required to comply with public records laws and the same bookkeeping standards as traditional public schools,”  wrote Judge Damon Keith. “They must also abide by open meeting laws governing political subdivisions.”

Assistant Attorney General Reid Caryer, who represented the government against the two Ohio charter schools involved in this lawsuit, said he was just following state law, which holds that charter schools be treated the same as traditional public schools.

"It’s transparency,” Caryer said. “These are public entities and they need to be transparent and open just like other public entities in Ohio."