Kasich escalates public ed defunding

Ohioans would see income taxes fall, but would pay for them through higher sales and property taxes in the final Republican proposal

That's how the Cincinnati Enquirer opens its report on the massive last minute tax plan the Ohio GOP are planning to dump on the state, after months of internal disagreements.

Of particular concern to those who support public education, the budget conference committee decided not to restore the historic school funding cuts they made in the previous budget, but instead build upon it. Here was their starting point

FY12 (2011-2012 school year), which was the first year under Kasich's budget, saw a total of $7.52 billion in total state revenues. That's an 8% cut in total state revenue -- easily the largest cut since ODE started keeping these total state revenue figures in 1995.

And the bad news for districts is that FY12 won't represent the entire state divestment from education during Kasich's first budget. That's because the governor's budget phased down the Tangible Personal Property and Killowatt Hour tax reimbursement payments over two years. So the cut will be likely continued in FY13, pushing the total revenue figure down even lower.

As it stands, that $7.52 billion is the lowest amount provided by the state since the 2007-2008 school year.

Where they have ended up is even worse. In order to pay for their income tax cut, they have decided to eliminate the 12.5% property tax rollback.

The elimination of the property tax rollback will make future school levies harder to pass and more expensive, further shifting the burden from the state to local communities already struggling to support the needs of their students.

Eliminating the 12.5 percent property tax rollback for new taxes could make school levies harder to sell to voters. For example, without the rollback, last year's 15-mill Cleveland school levy would have cost $263 a year instead of $230 for the owner of a $50,000 home, and $525 a year instead of $459 for the owner of a $100,000 home.

The Governor and his legislative allies continue to shift the burden from millionaires to working people and their communities. We're going backwards at a time when the state can afford to move forward.

Voucher demand falls

We have previously reported how the last budget expanded the availability of vouchers from 14,000 a year to 60,000, and how little demand there was for them. This year demand for vouchers has fallen even further.

The Department of Education received nearly 600 fewer applicants to the Educational Choice scholarship this spring compared to last year
The 16,848 students whose families submitted applications by last Friday's deadline comes in short of the 17,438 who did so a year ago and still far below the 60,000 limit on vouchers. ODE also held a second application window last fall that brought the total applications to 17,516 for use in the present school year.

Let's look at the graph

If parents in school districts that are struggling are rejecting the voucher option, why would the legislature think expansion of vouchers into districts where schools are excellent, prove to be any more popular?

School choice proponents need to begin to understand that the vast majority of parents choose public schools, and that choice deserves the same vigorous support for-profit education receives from the "choice" community and Ohio's current crop of legislators.

Education News for 03-11-2013

State Education News

  • Race to Top grants not worth costs, officials say (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Requirements tied to federal Race to the Top education grants have become more work than the money is worth, some Ohio school districts say…Read more...

  • In some classrooms, social media welcome (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Jordan Shapiro’s class last week delved into a weighty discussion of Plato’s allegory of the cave and shifting perceptions of reality…Read more...

  • Ohio first to target K-3 in voucher program (Dayton Daily News)
  • Ohio may become the first state in the nation to offer publicly funded vouchers to K-3 students whose schools fail to hit the bar in reading…Read more...

  • Emails show data scrubbing analyzed in ’08 (Toledo Blade)
  • It is well-documented that the Ohio Department of Education long knew — or should have known — about extensive data scrubbing at urban Ohio school districts…Read more...

  • Superintendents to testify about state funding (Zanesville Times-Recorder)
  • After losing $500,000 from state funding budget cuts in the past two years, Morgan Local Schools Superintendent Lori Snyder-Lowe fears what’s to come from other budget modifications…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Schools receive their report cards (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  • Excellent is the rating for the Oak Hills Local School District. The Ohio Department of Education recently released its Ohio Report Card ratings…Read more...

  • Dublin chooses new superintendent from suburban Cleveland (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Dublin schools announced today that Todd Hoadley will be the district’s next superintendent…Read more...

  • Amherst schools up security; $250,000 system to include panic button, telephones in every classroom (Lorain Morning Journal)
  • Amherst schools will upgrade its security system for the next school year to include a panic button in every building and telephones in every classroom…Read more...

  • Monroe mulls $740K in savings (Middletown Journal)
  • Monroe schools could save $740,000 over the next two years by reducing teacher positions, negotiating salary freezes, raising employee health care contributions and eliminating two active buses, according to the results of a year-long performance…Read more...

  • Community backs new city schools plan (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • Many in the community support city schools Superintendent Connie Hathorn’s plan to restructure schools in an effort to boost student choice, cut costs and bolster achievement — although some questions remain…Read more...


  • School districts to state - We need stable funding (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  • Last month, Gov. John Kasich made waves with his school-funding proposal. The waves have not ceased ... and local districts are still bobbing up and down in rather deep troughs…Read more...

  • How about an Ohio school funding formula do-over (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • Any proposal to change the inequitable way Ohio funds its public schools is sure to sow confusion and dissension. Funding formulas are complicated things…Read more...

  • Youngstown school board gets warning from oversight panel (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • Youngstown schools Superinten- dent Connie Hathorn is seeking a renewal of his contract that expires in July 2014. The chairwoman of the state-appointed Academic Distress Commission…Read more...

Surprise! Charters want even more money.

In testimony before the House Finance committee, Charter school operators and their boosters expressed sadness at the Governor's education budget. Despite school districts having to deduct $824 billion this school year to fund charter schools (most of which are failing), they want more. They argued they should receive

  • $5,704 per pupil, not $5,000, as the base amount (but would not answer the question of whether or not traditional public schools should receive a base amount higher than $5,000).
  • Up to $1,000 per pupil (instead of he proposed $100) for buildings and that online charter schools should also receive building funds

Only 5% of Ohio's students go to a charter school, and much less than 1% go to a quality one, yet charter operators and their boosters want more than 10% of the funding. These aren't fair or tennable requests being made, it is greed at the expense of the majority of students who choose to go to a traditional public school.

Education News for 02-26-2013

State Education News

  • Head Start could see cuts (Canton Repository)
  • If a budget compromise among lawmakers in Washington D.C. remains elusive, spending cuts totaling $85 billion will begin Friday…Read more...

  • Attendance 'scrubbing' study continues (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  • The Ohio Department of Education has officially opened its investigation into the nine school districts, including Cincinnati and Winton Woods, cited this month by the Ohio auditor for evidence of “scrubbing…Read more...

  • High-school dropouts costly, report says (Columbus Dispatch)
  • High-school dropouts are costing about $1.8 billion in lost tax revenue every year, education advocates said in a report released yesterday…Read more...

  • Panel selects 4 state superintendent finalists (Columbus Dispatch)
  • A State Board of Education subcommittee yesterday named four finalists for state school superintendent…Read more...

  • Bills seek to remove stigma from workforce development centers (Hamilton Journal-News)
  • Workforce One Butler County provided job assistance to nearly 20,600 last year and could probably have helped thousands more, officials said. But the Fairfield agency’s services…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Chillicothe board approves $640,000 in cuts, closure of sixth-grade building (Chillicothe Gazette)
  • Chillicothe’s current crop of fifth-graders will be staying put this fall. The Board of Education on Monday approved more than $640,000 in budget reductions that include the closure of the Western…Read more...

  • Clear Fork schools ponder drug test policy (Mansfield News Journal)
  • The Clear Fork Board of Education plans to consider drug testing of student-athletes and drivers at its next meeting…Read more...

  • Licking Valley High School teen creates anti-bullying blog (Newark Advocate)
  • Haley Smith knows what it feels like to be bullied. When she was in elementary school, kids used to tease her about her red hair and freckles and even stole her glasse…Read more...

  • Some districts on ballot show spending hikes (Springfield News-Sun)
  • Eighteen area school districts have levies on the ballot May 7, and all of them have made budget cuts of some type in the past few years…Read more...

  • Latest round of negotiations ends with no settlement as Strongsville teachers prepare for strike (Sun Newspapers)
  • With a potential teacher strike less than a week away, a four-and-a-half -our negotiation session between the Strongsville teachers union and the school district…Read more...

  • Sylvania council votes to terminate director of food service (Toledo Blade)
  • The Sylvania City Schools Board of Education voted unanimously Monday night to terminate the district's director of food service for allegedly misreporting the number of free or reduced meals…Read more...

  • Austintown teachers reach tentative deal with board (Warren Tribune Chronicle)
  • A tentative deal was reached late Monday between a teachers union and the Austintown school administration…Read more...


  • Adequacy gap (Akron Beacon Journal)
  • When John Kasich met with superintendents the day he unveiled his new funding plan for public schools, he hardly could have been more emphatic. He declared: “If you’re poor, you’re going to get more. If you are richer, you’re going to get less…Read more...

  • Youngstown schools cannot afford to lose superintendent (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • When the restructuring plan for the Youngstown City School District is unveiled to the public March 6, the community will realize how important it is to have the right person in charge to ensure a successful transformation…Read more...

A pre-budget baseline

In advance of the Governor releasing his budget, Policy Matters Ohio has produced a report looking at the current budget situation and making recommendations in numerous policy areas, including education.

  • Restore cuts that have caused local school districts to cut staff and course offerings, increase class sizes, and implement pay-to-play for extracurricular activities;
  • Institute a fair, adequate and equitable funding formula for schools;
  • Apply high standards to charter schools, keeping ineffective schools from opening and closing those that fail their students. Make sure charters become part of a stronger K-12 education system in Ohio, not a means to dismantle it;
  • Fund higher education sufficiently to make tuition at Ohio’s colleges and universities more similar to that in other states;
  • Establish a long-term strategy to restore need-based aid.

Their entire education section of the report is worth a read, but we wanted to pull out 2 sections from that.

Funding drops over decade

Figure 3 shows that, adjusted for inflation, annual state funding for primary and secondary education in Ohio has dropped more than a billion dollars over a 10-year period, to less than $8.7 billion in FY13 from $9.7 billion in FY04, in 2012 dollars. As noted, Figure 3 does not include federal stimulus funding.

Those are serious declines in education investment that should be kept in mind.

Privatization directs money away from districts

Even as K-12 education – districts, charters, and voucher programs – has gotten less funding through the state budget, the state continued to expand privatization, directing increasing amounts of money away from school districts toward privately operated charters and voucher schools. Some increasing funding is due to rising enrollment in charters, but as Table 5 shows, year-to-year increases in the deduction of funds from school districts have either outstripped or stayed roughly on track with enrollment increases. Over the 10-year period beginning in FY 2003, charter school enrollment has increased 262 percent, while funding for charters has increased more than 500 percent over the same period.

Policy makers have increased voucher spending as well. HB 153, the budget bill signed in 2011, created a new voucher worth up to $20,000 that families of special needs children can use at state-approved private providers beginning this school year.[23] The budget bill also increased the voucher amount for the Cleveland program, to a maximum of $5,000 for high school and $4,250 for grades K-8, from $3,450 for all grades.[24] HB 153 expanded the number of vouchers available through the statewide EdChoice program to 60,000, although FY 2013 enrollment remains much lower at about 15,968.[25] Ohio’s autism voucher program, which provides up to $20,000 a year to use with private providers, began in FY 2004 and has been used by more than 2,000 families.[26]

Together, the amount of money directed to charter schools and voucher programs in Ohio is approaching $1 billion a year deducted from school district funds. In FY 2011, for example, charter schools saw about $720 million and voucher programs got a total of more than $100 million.[27] The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) reports that in FY 2012, $774 million was allocated to charter schools and at least $86 million for vouchers.[28] This reflects a growth of about 5 percent in privatized school funding in a year that overall funding plunged. ODE figures show at least $950 million will be spent on charters and vouchers in Ohio in FY 2013.[29]

The Governor is also expected to expand privatization efforts further.