Gov. John Kasich recently stated he thinks Ohio public schools can adjust to the loss of $3.1 billion in state and federal stimulus funds this budget cycle without putting local levies on the ballot. He further stated that school boards and administrators need to make tough decisions.
The truth is that publicly elected school boards have been making difficult decisions for years. In many cases, public school districts have nothing left to cut. Districts across Ohio have made drastic reductions. They have laid off administrators, teachers and other staff. They've cut programs, transportation and extracurricular activities. They've even been forced to close schools. Local leaders have little left to cut, and the reductions in state funding will require them to go back to their communities' taxpayers for more money.
Many districts that are on the ballot this May have cut all they are legally allowed to cut and still do not have enough money to keep their schools open. We have seen districts across the state announce teacher layoffs and cuts in programs the same night they discuss the need for a levy. Unfortunately, levies will not bring back programs and teachers but merely allow districts to meet the state minimum requirements.
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