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State shies away from 'charter university' plan

By LibMueller
On April 24, 2012

Miami University had the chance to become a partially private institution, known as a "charter school," due to a proposal forwarded by the Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Jim Petro last year, but the potential of Miami becoming a charter university is now off the table.

David Creamer, vice president of finance and business services, said there was an expectation the legislation would be introduced sometime after January.

"[Legislation concerning charter schools] would have affected all of the public universities in Ohio," Creamer said.

However, it appears all 14 public universities in Ohio will remain as they are, according to Creamer.

"The governor has decided not to put forward any legislation after some consultation with leadership in the Ohio General Assembly," Creamer said. "There wasn't any support."

Miami President David Hodge said the proposal would have given Miami more power in decision-making.

"We were supportive of those parts of the proposal that gave us more flexibility," Hodge said.

However, the freedom from government regulation would have come at a price, according to Hodge.

"Initially, at least, the state would give us less money in return," Hodge said.

One of the widely debated advantages of becoming a "charter school" for Miami as an institution would have been partial freedom in the setting of tuition price, which is currently under the control of the Ohio General Assembly, Creamer said.

However, this freedom would not necessarily have resulted in a tuition increase, Creamer said.

Senior Will Sheets said he does not see the point in Miami becoming a "charter school."

"My initial reaction is that taking a well-known university that is functioning as a public institution ... I don't see the point [in Miami becoming a 'charter school']," Sheets said.

The proposal would also have removed enrollment caps currently in place, according to Creamer, which could increase the student population.

He also said the university would have gained some freedom in setting workers' compensation.

The issue over bureaucratic mandates and administrative entanglements is not necessarily over, according to Creamer.

"What I think is likely to occur is that instead of this broad bill that provides general powers and reduced regulatory impact, I think we'll see individual bills that will take some of these regulatory issues on and provide flexibility," Creamer said.

Hodge said regulatory relief is still an important concern for Miami.

"We will continue to push for regulatory relief whenever we can do so," Hodge said. "It [the proposal] was never about becoming a private university; it was about not letting regulations get in the way."


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