State school board Democrats vow that their "voice will be heard" on testing, school funding and charter schools

Democrats on the state school board have banded together to push for better state funding of schools, better controls over charter schools and a reduction in the amount of standardized tests kids have to take.

The coalition of seven members will be a minority on the mostly-Republican board of 19. But leaders of the coalition said in a press conference this morning that they hope that by speaking together, they can have a voice in support of education.

"That voice will be heard," said new board member Bob Hagan, a former state representative from Youngstown. "I don't think you've seen or heard of a coalition like this at the state school board in the past."

In the hour-long discussion with media from across the state, six of the seven members raised multiple objections with changes that have occurred in public education in Ohio the last several years: more state money going to charter schools and away from traditional districts; a reduction in state support for public schools; a lack of accountability in both finances and performance of charter schools; increased testing of students; and creation of new evaluation systems for teachers and principals they say may need adjustments.

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