Kasich pushes public ed to precipice

Already faced with having to deal with massive budget cuts created by the Governor's raid on school funding to balance his own budget, he has now asked all departments, including the Department of Education to provide budget scenarios that include a further 10% cut

State agency heads will be lucky if they get to keep current funding levels when Gov. John Kasich rolls out the next state budget in the spring.

That's the tone being set by a budget guidance document released Monday by Kasich's administration that asks state agencies to plan a pair of scenarios for the 2014-15 budget -- one where they see no growth in funding and a second in which agencies are hit with a 10 percent cut in general revenue funds.

The Governor's own Office of Budget and Management ran the number to discern the impact. It would be ironic if the Governor killed his own education policies via his own fiscal policy.

In areas of academic improvement, the results are dire

  • A 10% cut could jeopardize Ohio's ESEA flexibility waiver by reducing services by up to 4,000 hours and not providing the additional support to priority and focus schools required. The 16 fiscal agents (ESCs) that deliver the Ohio Improvement Process for districts in school improvement already do not have the capacity to support all districts in need of support.
  • A 10% cut to Ohio's Alternative Education Grant programs could result in as many as 29 programs closing resulting in increased drop-out rates and decreased graduation rates. Students who drop out often result in long term costs to the state through various social service and remediation programs. This funding has experienced a reduction of funding of a little over 40% to what was originally budgeted for in FY09

On Curriculum and assessment, the cuts would end the efforts to increase academic rigor and hinder the newly legislated (and already unfunded) 3rd grade reading guarantee.

  • A 10% cut to funding for Content Standards and Model Curricula would jeopardize ODE's ability to manage all work required in statute in this area, such as embedding career connections into Ohio's model curricula. Additional cuts could also jeopardize Ohio's ESEA flexibility waiver by significantly hindering ODE's ability to provide technical assistance to districts in implementing the new academic content standards that begin in the 2013-14 school year. Reductions will jeopardize planned professional development supporting best practices instructional strategies, infusing technology into instruction, and supporting instruction for diverse learners in implementing the new State Learning Standards. This set-aside has experienced a cut of over 28% to amounts originally budgeted for in FY09.
  • A 10% cut to Assessment Contracts and & Administration would result in statutory noncompliance for Ohio's student assessment system and would jeopardize Ohio's ESEA flexibility waiver because the funding would not allow the new generation of assessments being developed through the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and state-developed assessments for science and social studies to begin in the 2014-15 school year.
  • A 10% cut to funding for the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment could hinder the release and administration of this literacy assessment which is critical to successful early childhood learning and the implementation of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee included in SB 316.

Cuts would also jeopardize district data collection and analysis, something ODE is already struggling to grapple with as the attendance scrubbing controversy drags on. While we can't currently publish school report cards, these cuts would also risk further future delays putting federal monies at risk.

Under educator quality efforts:

  • A 10% cut in funds for Educator Standards and Prep would mean new work required under statute, particularly for teachers and principals, could not be properly managed. Such work includes the implementation of the new teacher and principal evaluation systems required by statute and using evaluation systems to inform decisions including professional development, promotion, retention, placement, tenure and removal of ineffective educators.
  • 10% cut to Teacher and Principal Evaluation/Student Growth, could put in jeopardy the continued implementation of the teacher and principal evaluation systems which are included as a part of Ohio's ESEA flexibility waiver. Also, the incorporation of student growth as a metric in these systems, mandated by state law, could be put in jeopardy. LEA requests for support in implementation have been overwhelming and the need for support will continue to grow.
  • It would be ironic if the Governor killed his own education policies via his own fiscal policy.

Here's the full analysis

Impact of a further 10% cut to Ohio's education budget