Outrage over school cuts rises

From emails and phone calls, to angry town halls, legislators have been on the receiving end of a backlash to the reckless budget the Governor has proposed.

Battered by angry crowds at suburban school district meetings in recent days, House Republican lawmakers will offer up changes Thursday limiting the budgetary pain inflicted on schools by Gov. John Kasich's budget proposal.

House Finance Chair Ron Amstutz said many changes to the $120 billion, all-funds budget proposed by Kasich are coming, including tweaks to a controversial blueprint for funding schools over the next two years authored by the Republican governor.

"We are looking to take the edge off of this problem across the spectrum of school districts -- not just for the upper" property wealth districts, said Amstutz, a Wooster Republican shepherding the budget through the GOP-controlled House. "But we are concerned about the districts getting high percentage cuts."

Taxpayers from those districts, many in traditional Republican territory, are also concerned -- and downright angry. Hundreds of them have been giving GOP lawmakers an earful at recent community meetings.

The "solution" being considered by the Republicans from wealthy suburban districts that are seeing large cuts is to shift those cuts to poorer school districts, as Ohio Budget Watch reports

Some Republicans from suburban districts that are receiving deep cuts in school funding are looking to change the funding model. The Plain Dealer is reporting that Representative Nan Baker’s (R-Westlake) proposal to cap cuts in funding at 20% for any one school district is being seriously considered by the House Republican Caucus. House Finance Chair Amstutz called it an “excellent amendment” that is “well conceived”. Which is kind of funny considering Governor Kasich said that no district receives a cut of over 8% in his budget but for some reason House Republicans are having to consider an amendment to cap cuts at 20%. I guess that is nether here nor there, though.

According to sources in the article, by capping the amount of cuts per school district at 20% this creates a hole of $114 million in the state budget. And how exactly to House Republicans fill the gap? Simple, by taking the small increases that low property wealth school districts receive in this budget and giving it to the high property wealth school districts.

It should come as little surprise that the theory of balancing the budget on the backs of schools and teachers was never going to be popular, however the Republican controlled legislature is still resistant to solving the budget problem in a balanced way.

But Rep. Ron Amstutz, a Republican from Wooster, and Rep. Christina Hagan, a Republican from Alliance, did make one thing clear: The House GOP isn’t going to back tax increases as a means of balancing the budget.

One thing is clear, there's very little appetite for this reckless budget. The GOP legislature and Governor now seem at odds with each other, and anger in the communities continues to rise.