Budget priorities

We saw the news that the Governor had decided to award Diebold $56 million

GREEN, Ohio -- ATM manufacturer Diebold Inc. will receive at least $56 million in state assistance to keep its headquarters in Northeast Ohio

In exchange for the state building this lavish world HQ, Diebold promises it won't lay off more than 400 of its 1900 workforce. Quite the deal for a company with $2.7 billion in annual revenue.

But that got us thinking.

The administration has made a decision that its better to award a company that makes ATM machines for bailed out banks $56 million than to use that money to save gifted education funding which is slashed by $60 million. That, to us, is a strange priority.

Now some might argue that one is about jobs and the other isn't. We'd disagree, but let's look at some other priority decisions being made. We scanned through news of school job losses because of this budget, in no particular order we quickly compiled this list of 525 job losses because of $45.2 million in funding cuts.

74 jobs, $2.5 million

In March, the board presented a long list of proposed cuts which totaled more than $2.5 million. The cuts include:

26 teachers coming from a variety of grade levels
8 bus drivers
30 support staff
Possible closing of Hooven Elementary
Decrease building budgets by 25 percent
Decrease of supplemental contracts

73 jobs, $6.3 million

Proposed State Cuts Would Deliver 'Devastating' Blow to Westlake City Schools. Between 44 and 73 jobs may be eliminated in an effort to close the budget gap.
Westlake school officials are maneuvering on district, local and state levels to find a way to absorb $6.3 million in proposed state funding cuts over the next two school years.

74 jobs, $3 million

Adams County/Ohio Valley School District School tax levy going to vote

The reductions we must make for the 2011-12 school year will be 74 positions. Reductions will include support staff including cooks, custodians and secretaries. It will include certified staff including administrators, high school teachers, elementary teachers, counselors and the elimination of some programs and instructors at the Career and Technical Center.
The levy is a five year emergency levy. After five years it must be renewed by voters or it will be dropped. It will bring in 3 million dollars per year for the five year period.

120 jobs, $13 million

Pickerington teacher layoffs set
Board approves reduction of up to 120 jobs in bid to trim budget by $13 million

14 jobs, $2.5 million

Delaware schools to seek levy, offer cuts
The $2.5 million in cuts for next school year include eliminating 14 staff positions, limiting field trips and phasing out German and Latin classes.

37 jobs, $2.9 million

Hudson -- Almost 200 people, many of them wearing the blue union shirts of the Hudson Education Association, listened as the School Board on April 4 voted to eliminate 37 positions before the start of the 2011-12 school year.

The eliminated positions will save the district $2.9 million in salaries and benefits but leave about 34 people out of work, according to Assistant Superintendent Phil Herman.

133 jobs, $12 million

Regardless of when the board does take action, members have warned Lakota residents to expect to see the deepest cuts in personnel and student programs in the district's 54 year history for next school year. Moreover, board members said the final cuts will resemble the current $12 million plan and Lakota students will face a scaled-down school system in August.
Lakota's latest proposed cuts include 133 teaching, counseling and related classroom positions - including 28 teaching jobs at Lakota East and Lakota West high schools. Students would have also have had fewer choices as those schools return to seven daily class periods, eliminating block scheduling.

We can all agree that there is a serious budget problem in our state, but I think we can also see that some of the decisions being made, and the priorities being pushed are only in the narrow interest of the few - and have nothing whatsoever to do with job creation or the economy.

Not when budget priorities serve to reward financial industry companies on the backs of students, teachers and local property tax payers. Does that seem right to you?