By Denise Dick
State Rep. Robert F. Hagan is throwing his hat into the race for Ohio State Board of Education.
Hagan, D-58th, of Youngstown, announced Thursday that he will seek the Eighth District seat on the state board.
“I was asked by some teachers’ organizations and other organizations that are involved in charters to actually run,” he said. “I’d been pondering what my future would look like and politics is in my veins.”
Hagan is leaving his Ohio House seat because of term limits.
He said he intends to hold charter schools accountable for the taxpayer dollars that they receive.
Recent media reports have alleged cheating and other misdeeds at Horizon and Noble Science Academy locations, which are operated by Concept Schools. The company operates one school on Southern Boulevard in Youngstown.
“We’ve basically poured tens of millions of dollars down a rat hole,” Hagan said in a news release. “Those dollars could and should have been used to improve the schools here in Mahoning County and across the state. Instead they’ve done nothing more than enrich people who callously view education as a profit center.”
Hagan said he’s against all charter schools. He objects to public money being diverted from public education without oversight.
He said he’s not a fan of vouchers either or of any method that sends public money to schools without oversight.
“I think it’s a way to get around the obligation of collective bargaining, the obligation to ensure teachers are treated fairly and it damages our public-school system,” Hagan said.
The Eighth District includes Mahoning, Columbiana, Belmont, Carroll, Harrison, Jefferson, Stark and Tuscarawas counties. Deborah Cain of Uniontown, who now occupies the seat, isn’t seeking re-election.
“I wish him well,” she said.