Cases & Deals

Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools prevail before the Supreme Court of Ohio in challenge to Cincinnati City School District's attempt to prevent charter school from obtaining school facilities

Clients Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools

On behalf of five Ohio and national charter school-related organizations, including the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Jones Day partner Chad Readler participated as amicus curiae counsel, both in briefing and at argument, in prevailing before the Supreme Court of Ohio. The Supreme Court of Ohio held that a deed restriction put in place by the Cincinnati City School District preventing the use of its former school building by charter schools for school purposes was unenforceable as against public policy. On behalf of the amici parties, Chad Readler briefed the case and participated in oral argument in support of Dr. Roger Conners, who prevailed before the Supreme Court.

Dr. Conners purchased from the Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) at public auction a building formerly used as a school by CPS. The purchase agreement contained a deed restriction stating that the buyer (and future buyers) could not use the property for school purposes. After purchasing the building, Dr. Conners notified CPS that he intended to open a public charter school the following year. Through litigation, CPS sought to prevent Dr. Conners from opening the school due to the deed restriction.

Dr. Conners and Jones Day, on behalf of its amici clients, asked the Supreme Court to hold that the deed restriction was void as violative of Ohio public policy favoring the use of school buildings for school purposes. Assessing the legislative landscape, the Court held that the Ohio General Assembly had developed an unambiguous public policy in favor of charter schools, enumerated in several statutes. The General Assembly had also recognized the challenges charter schools face in obtaining suitable facilities, responding by passing legislation requiring school districts to first offer unused school buildings to charter schools before putting them up for public auction. Collectively, these statutes, the Court held, “indicate a legislative preference for giving charter schools the opportunity to operate out of unused school buildings, a rational choice because charter schools are themselves public schools.” For these reasons, the Court unanimously concluded that, on its face, the deed restriction frustrated Ohio public policy that favors making classroom space available to charter schools, and thus was unenforceable. Chad Readler was quoted in the Cincinnati Enquirer's coverage of the decision.

Cincinnati City School Dist. Bd. of Edn. v. Conners, Slip Opinion No. 2012-Ohio-2447