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Published: Thursday, 2/17/2005

Justices to mull suit opposing charter schools


COLUMBUS - The Ohio Supreme Court yesterday agreed to hear the appeal of several public school groups in a lawsuit that challenges Ohio's charter-school system as unconstitutional.

The decision was 6-1, with Justice Terrence O'Donnell dissenting. The court released the decision without a written statement.

In August, 2004, a Columbus-based state appeals court revived several counts in a lawsuit that a coalition including the Ohio Federation of Teachers and the Ohio PTO had filed.

The coalition of public school groups has alleged that the charter school program is unconstitutional because it is not "subject to strict, uniform statewide standards," isn't overseen by elected school boards, diverts money from voter-approved levies, and provides loan guarantees to private businesses that operate charter schools.

The Supreme Court did not agree to hear one part of the state appeals court ruling on the charter school program.

That is the state's argument that previous Supreme Court rulings that struck down Ohio's school-funding system as unconstitutional showed that the charter school program had passed muster.

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