Education News for 05-20-2013

State Education News

  • Glitches follow switch from paper to computer testing (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  • Students aren’t the only ones nervous about state testing. Very public computer glitches plaguing online testing in several states in recent weeks are making educators and state leaders…Read more...

  • Charter tax plan raises questions (Columbus Dispatch)
  • A proposed state law singles out Columbus City Schools taxpayers to shoulder part of the tax burden for charter schools even though thousands of Franklin County’s charter-school students live in suburban school districts…Read more...

  • Reading help on the way for Columbus kindergartners (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Most children who came to kindergarten in Columbus schools without knowing the ABCs, which way to hold a book or other important early-reading skills remained behind when they reached third grade…Read more...

  • Former state education official pleads guilty to possessing child porn (Columbus Dispatch)
  • A fired state education official has pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of possession of child pornography…Read more...

  • Lorain Academic Distress Commission meets (Lorain Morning Journal)
  • The Lorain Academic Distress Commission will see a draft of the district’s academic improvement plan Monday, along with data on how the schools operate…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Local revenue increases without ballot requests becoming more common for schools (Chillicothe Gazette)
  • For two decades, Licking Valley Local Schools have not gone to the ballot to ask for more money — but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t taken more from local taxpayers…Read more...

  • CHCA continues to broaden international student program (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  • Many foreign students study abroad in high school for a year or two as exchange students. At Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, most stay for its entirety…Read more...

  • Sheriff won’t support school levies unless districts look at armed personnel (Dayton Daily News)
  • Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones declared this week that he “won’t support a school levy again that doesn’t address school safety with armed personnel…Read more...

  • Beavercreek schools face money crisis in 2015 (Dayton Daily News)
  • Without any changes, the Beavercreek City School District would start the 2015 fiscal year with $5.2 million in the bank, not enough to open the schools for 2015/16 school year…Read more...

  • Gadgets growing on local schools: Even youngest of pupils getting involved (Lima News)
  • Temple Christian sixth-grader Anna Acklin spent this year using a school-issued iPad in class and at home. She considered herself lucky, until learning kindergartners at her school will get iPad Minis…Read more...

  • Here's who wasn't picked; Lorain Academic Distress Commission candidates uncovered (Lorain Morning Journal)
  • The names of seven candidates for the local appointments to Lorain’s Academic Distress Commission have been uncovered through an investigation by the Morning Journal…Read more...

  • Lorain County school leaders oppose expansion of voucher program (Lorain Morning Journal)
  • Lorain County’s school superintendents, as well as administrators from Sandusky City Schools, are speaking out against a proposed expansion to a state voucher program…Read more...

  • Despite hurdles local ballot issues face, system unlikely to change (Mansfield News Journal)
  • For six consecutive times, West Muskingum Local Schools had gone to the voters seeking additional financial support only to be rejected…Read more...

  • Stepp files lawsuit against Medina Board of Education (Sun Newspapers)
  • Medina City School District superintendent Randy Stepp has made good on a threat to take the district to court, filing a lawsuit against the board of education and other district officials in federal court…Read more...

  • Eager for education (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • The 2013 graduates of the Youngstown Early College didn’t talk as much about all the good times they had in high school as about their journeys, and how tough it was staying the course…Read more...


  • A promise to our kids (Columbus Dispatch)
  • A bill pending in the Ohio House that would tweak some provisions of Ohio’s third-grade reading guarantee would make the program more workable for schools without undermining its intent…Read more...

Education News for 04-26-2013

State Education News

  • Columbus schools auditor slows plan to expand office (Columbus Dispatch)
  • The Columbus City Schools’ internal auditor proposed a scaled-back plan last night to boost her staff and help protect the district against future problems like the data-rigging…Read more...

  • Ramos balks at recording Academic Distress Commission meetings (Lorain Morning Journal)
  • Most bylaws of the Academic Distress Commission that will oversee Lorain’s school system were approved Monday, but commission member Raul Ramos…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Cleveland names 'investment schools' slated for turnaround (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • The Cleveland school district this afternoon named 13 low-performing schools to receive intensive help next school year…Read more...

  • LCC will issue all students iPads (Lima News)
  • Lima Central Catholic High School students will be handed an iPad when they arrive to school next year. They will keep the devices all year, which school officials believe will improve their education…Read more...

  • Lima schools promise free lunch for all (Lima News)
  • Come next school year, every pupil in the Lima schools will be eligible for free lunches…Read more...

  • Hilliard officials rip schools deal to sell land for homes (This Week News)
  • Hilliard city officials say the Hilliard school board acted hypocritically when it approved selling 124 acres to Rockford Homes for almost $5 million, given the district’s past complaints…Read more...

Education News for 12-18-2012

State Education News

  • Local schools look at a different disaster plan (Columbus Dispatch)
  • The staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary did what they were supposed to do: The principal and school psychologist tried to stop the gunman when he blasted his way into the building…Read more...

  • Overseer of state’s colleges to retire (Columbus Dispatch)
  • After nearly 30 years of public service, Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Jim Petro will retire on Feb. 1 to spend time lecturing about one of his passions: the problem of wrongful imprisonment…Read more...

  • Attendance probe holds up teacher bonuses (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Potentially hundreds of Columbus City Schools teachers are waiting on bonuses until after a state audit of the district’s data reporting is complete…Read more...

  • Train, arm teachers for defense (Marion Star)
  • Having responsible adults with guns in schools should be part of a comprehensive effort to protect children from tragedies, according to the chairman of the Ohio’s gun lobby…Read more...

  • Cleveland State University criminologist says schools are still the safest place (WEWS)
  • The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown…Read more...

  • Fiscal panel OKs contract (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • The current contract between the city school district and its teachers union was approved by the state fiscal commission before going to the school board for approval…Read more...

  • State Commission isn't ready to approve a new district treasurer (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • Liberty school board is ready to bring on a new district treasurer, but the state-appointed commission needs more time before giving its OK…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Cleveland school students can succeed in college, officials say (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • More Cleveland students will head to college ready to succeed and will leave campus with their degrees if members of a strong, evolving partnership have their way…Read more...

  • Bullying prevention an on-going task for schools (Hamilton Journal-News)
  • The battle against bullying is a daily, on-going activity, according to local educators…Read more...


  • Youngstown school system’s problems continue (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • In what universe is it acceptable in this day and age for one of the most troubled school districts in the state of Ohio to have one of the most expensive health insurance plans? …Read more…

Education News for 12-14-2012

State Education News

  • Tax exemption annoys Upper Arlington school chiefs (Columbus Dispatch)
  • A property-tax exemption for Tree of Life Christian Schools would have been challenged had Upper Arlington schools known about it, school district Treasurer Andrew Geistfeld said…Read more...

  • Veteran awarded diploma posthumously (Lima News)
  • The Lima school board approved a high school diploma Thursday for World War II veteran Ralph G. Washam. Ohio Senate Bill 75 allows schools to grant diplomas to World War II veterans who left school to serve during the war…Read more...

  • Districts turn to fees to pay for activities (Springfield News-Sun)
  • More local school districts have implemented or increased pay-to-participate fees as budgets tighten and voters have said no to property tax requests…Read more...

  • Academic commission takes over Youngstown school district (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • The city schools Academic Distress Commission is taking over budget authority for the school district because of a projected $1.5 million deficit this school year…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Harmony talk turns divisive (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Talk of harmony among racial groups devolved into accusations of communism, racism and McCarthyism at the Olentangy school-board meeting yesterday evening…Read more...

  • Panel starts discussing fix for schools (Columbus Dispatch)
  • With so many members they at first couldn’t all fit at the table in the largest meeting room in City Hall, Mayor Michael B. Coleman kicked off his new “education commission” to examine Columbus City Schools…Read more...

  • Computer error throws off schools’ math competition results (Dayton Daily News)
  • A computer glitch miscalculated the scores at Dayton Public Schools’ Math-O-Lympics competition Saturday, leading some of the wrong teams to get trophies…Read more...


  • Think big for best use of windfall (Warren Tribune Chronicle)
  • As Vienna trustees discuss what to do with a $3.9 million windfall, they should engage their residents and think big. Really big…Read more...

Losing Sway

If the Yes On 2 campaign is truly about anything, it is about who has the most sway over who represents us. Few would argue that it should be the voters themselves, little surpise then that the Yes On Issue 2 campaign calls itself Voters First.

In reality, voters have the least sway over who gets to represent them. This is demonstrated with 2 very simple examples.

Example 1, Jim Renacci: The 13 minute Man

We know that our Republican politicians gerrymandered state legislative and Congressional districts behind closed doors, in a hotel room nicknamed “the bunker,” intentionally hiding the process from the public. These actions make many citizens wonder what exactly occurred in that room to cause their legislators to be so secretive.

A member of Speaker Boehner’s staff, Tom Whatman, sent an e-mail to NRCC staffer Adam Kinciad, and others in charge of drawing the new districts, requesting a last minute change to District 16 by adding a large business. Then, within 13 minutes of the first e-mail, the NRCC staffers had already responded that Timken would now be in Renacci’s district, no problem, no questions asked.

In our second example, Urban Voters Lose Out in Ohio’s 1st Congressional District

So how can someone like Steve Chabot, so seemingly wrapped up in suburban identity politics, be the Congressional Rep for a district that includes a major city like Cincinnati? This happens through a combination of gerrymandering, overt discriminatory voting policies, the overall loss of 2 Congressional Districts statewide, and shrinking populations in Ohio’s cities. Check out what Ohio’s Republican state legislature and governor have done to Ohio’s First Congressional District over the years… the graphic below shows where in the congressional redistricting based on Census 2010, the Republican state legislature went completely out of their way to tack on the staunchly Republican Warren County to the 1st District, and in the process, further weakening the voice of Cincinnati’s residents in speaking up for their share of federally-funded projects (this boundary will go into effect beginning with the 113th Congress starting in 2013).

Clearly, just from these 2 example, of which there are many more, our redistricting process is broken. We have waited year after year for politicians in Columbus to fix this rigged system, but they have failed us. Now we have an opportunity to fix the system ourselves, by voting Yes On Issue 2.

Voters First’s proposal will create an Independent Citizens Commission. Politicians, lobbyists and political insiders are prohibited from serving on the commission. The Commission’s work will be open and it will be accountable to the public. The Commission will empower voters to choose their politicians instead of politicians picking their voters.

  • Citizens, Not Politicians. Instead of the current procedures (in which politicians draw district boundaries that unfairly favor their own party and/or protect incumbents), a 12-member Citizens Commission will create the districts. Any member of the public can submit a plan for consideration.
  • Openness and Transparency. All meetings, records, communications and draft plans of the Commission must be open to the public. No more backroom deals.
  • Balance and Impartiality. The Citizens Commission will include equal numbers of Republicans, Democrats and independents, and the approval of at least seven of the twelve members of the commission will be required for the adoption of any plan. This will ensure that the final plan fairly represents all Ohioans, not just those currently in power.
  • Community Representation. Districts will be created that are geographically compact, and which minimize the division of counties, townships, municipalities and wards between different districts.
  • Accountability & Competitive Districts. Politically balanced districts will be created, rather than “safe districts” which make it difficult or impossible for voters to hold elected officials accountable.
  • Fairness. To the greatest extent possible, the share of districts leaning toward a party will reflect the political preferences of the voters of Ohio.

Click here to view the summary of the ballot language

Voters First - Issue 2 - ballot language

The Ohio ballot board, in a partisan split decision chose the following as the language that will appear as Issue 2 (Voters First) on the November 6th ballot.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment
Proposed by Initiative Petition
To add and repeal language in Section l,3,4,6,7,9 and 13 of Article XI, repeal Sections 8 and 14 of Article XI, and add a new Section 16 to Article XI of the Constitution of the State of Ohio

A majority yes vote is necessary for the amendment to pass.

The proposed amendment would:

1. Remove the authority of elected representatives and grant new authority to appointed officials to establish congressional and state legislative district lines.

2. Create a state funded commission of appointed individuals from a limited pool of applicants to replace the aforementioned. The Commission will consist of 12 members as follows: four affiliated with the largest political party, four affiliated with the second largest political party and four not affiliated with either of the two largest political parties. Affirmative votes of 7 of 12 members are needed to select a plan.

3. Require new legislative and congressional districts be immediately established by the Commission to replace the most recent districts adopted by elected representatives, which districts shall not be challenged except by court order until the next federal decennial census and apportionment. In the event the Commission is not able to determine a plan by October 1, the Ohio Supreme Court would need to adopt a plan from all the plans submitted to the Commission.

4. Change the standards and requirements in the Constitution for drawing legislative and congressional districts.

5. Mandate the General Assembly to appropriate all funds as determined by the Commission including, but not be limited to, compensating:
1. Staff
2. Consultants
3. Legal counsel
4. Commision members

If approved, the amendment will be effective thirty days after the election.


Voters first has filed a lawsuit, claiming the ballot language is incomplete

The wording, for example, omits any references to requirements that the commission draw fair districts that reflect the political preferences of Ohio voters.

The ballot language "does not properly identify the substance of the proposal to be voted upon" and was written "to mislead, deceive or defraud the voters," the lawsuit says.

A summary of the initiative can be read, here.