Budget boosts private & charter schools at the expense of public schools

Innovation Ohio has taken a close look at the public education implications of the budget bill making its way through the legislature

In particular, we find that HB 59:

  • sends more money to charters, regardless of performance
  • lowers standards for charter schools, exempting them from accountability expected of Ohio’s traditional public schools
  • continues the push to privatize our public schools by union-busting and outsourcing
  • sends more taxpayer money to fund private schools, and
  • forces traditional schools to do more with less

They further found that the senate budget

  • Cut 3 in 4 school districts compared to 2010-2011 funding levels, to the tune of $532.7 million.
  • Cut 1 in 4 school districts compared to 2012-2013 funding levels.
  • Continued the need for an unprecedented $1.3 billion in new school levies for operations that have appeared on local ballots since Kasich took office, and causing 82 percent of school districts to cut staff positions last year.

You can download their report, here.

Why such inequity? Some reason it is because for-profit charter school operators such as David Brennan and William Lager are such huge contributors to the very politicians making these inequitable decisions

Brennan and Lager are the top individual contributors to the Republican leadership in the House and Senate (or close to it) . And they're no slouches when it comes to Gov. John Kasich either. They've given nearly $1 million to politicians since 2008.

It should come as little surprise then, that even though Brennan and Lager operate some of the worst charter schools in the state, they are receiving some of the largest increases in state spending - even more than some of their higher performing charter school peers.

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.

Rejected Kasich formula coming back?

The Ohio Senate revealed its version of the Budget, and it contained a number of changes to education policy proposals proposed by the Governor and the House. What it didn't contain was a school funding formula, for that we are told we will have to wait another week. A familiar story.

Based upon reporting, there should be some serious cause for concern. The Toledo Blade reports

A huge chunk still missing from the budget is how the chamber plans to deal with K-12 schools, preventing lawmakers from putting a total price tag on the two-year spending plan for the moment. Talks continue, but Mr. Faber predicted that the final product is likely to be closer to what Mr. Kasich initially proposed than what the House put forth.

Mr. Kasich’s school funding plans, particularly his promise that more money would flow to poorer schools, were initially greeted with optimism by school superintendents across the state. But that mood quickly soured when the administration released numbers showing that some 60 percent of school districts would see no funding increases while some wealthier, fast-growing, suburban districts were in line for large increases.

The House, in turned, capped the growth in subsidies to those suburban schools, resulting in more districts being in line for increases, including Toledo Public Schools. Mr. Faber would not speculate what the Senate’s total K-12 pot of funding would be larger or smaller than in the House version.

The Cincinnati Enquirer has a reaction

Senate Minority Leader Eric Kearney, D-North Avondale, said the small business tax cut wouldn’t provide business owners with enough money to create new jobs. He also lamented the budget’s lack of additional funding for local governments and schools.

“Our schools and local communities have suffered drastic cuts since Governor Kasich took office and today’s amendments by Senate Republicans to (the budget bill) did nothing to change that,” he said in a statement. “That’s not good news for local taxpayers who’ve been forced to pick up the slack from state funding cuts by voting for more local levies.”

Senate Republicans said they won’t have education funding numbers until next week, when they plan to reveal their final K-12 funding plan.

The Governor promised that poor districts would receive more, which should not have been a difficult task after he cut education funding by $1.8 billion in his last budget. But even that promise turned out to be empty as almost 400 school districts were set to receive flat funding. The House promised to fix the Governor's mess, and attempted to do so by returning to the Taft era building blocks formula - only they cut school funding by a further $200 million in the process. Now the Ohio Senate wants to return to the Governor's rejected formula. As we predicted, we have a school funding disaster on our hands, unless the Senate is also going to attach significant amounts of additional money to the plan to make it workable.

School administrators were not kind about the Governor's funding formula the first go-around, and here's the graph to demonstrate why

Will Ohio's media be bamboozled a third time by Republican legislators?

Republican lawmakers looking to attack working people again

On this day in 1886

350,000 workers staged a nationwide work stoppage to demand the adoption of a standard eight-hour workday. Forty thousand workers struck in Chicago, Illinois; ten thousand struck in New York; eleven thousand struck in Detroit, Michigan. As many as thirty-two thousand workers struck in Cincinnati, Ohio, although some of these workers had been out on strike for several months before May 1.

The purpose of the May Day Strike was to bring pressure on employers and state governments to create an eight-hour workday. During this period, workers commonly spent twelve or more hours of each day at work. Unions, especially the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada -- the predecessor of the American Federation of Labor, encouraged workers to strike on May 1, 1886, to demonstrate the need for an eight-hour day.

Today, Ohio Republican law makers want to go back to a time that predates 1886, by introducing yet more union busting legislation. State Rep. Ron Maag (R) and State Rep. Kristina Roegner (R) are introducing so called "right to work" bills. These bills (Maag's targets public sector workers, while Roegner's target private sectors workers) come less than 2 years after Ohioans rejected SB5, the previous anti-worker legislation aimed at reducing the ability of workers to negotiate safe and fair working conditions, benefits and pay.

Here's a copy of the letter we obtained announcing the introduction of the bill, and a request for legislators to add their names to it.

The introduction of these bills come suspiciously timed - just a day after Governor Kasich met with the tea party funders, the Koch Brothers - who are big proponents of "right to work" legislation and union busting in general.

Phones and electronic devices were banned from some panels, as Koch strategists detailed next year’s electoral battlegrounds and donors committed contributions to particular states or projects.

At least a half-dozen rising Republican stars were also in attendance. They included Dr. Ben Carson, a Baltimore neurosurgeon who has quickly developed a following among grass-roots conservatives, and several members of the Tea Party wing: Govs. Nikki R. Haley of South Carolina and John R. Kasich of Ohio, along with Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

The Tea Party's efforts to push anti-worker legislation has been on-going in Ohio for more than 2 years. Their efforts to collect signatures to place anti-worker legislation on the ballot, by their own accounts has fallen way short

Mr. Littleton said it would be a “long shot” for the group to gather the roughly 380,000 signatures of registered voters needed by July 3, the deadline to qualify for the November ballot.

The effort is a long shot because it has no popular support. The We Are Ohio signature collection effort to repeal the last anti-worker legislation that the Tea Party supported, collected over 1.3 million signatures in just a few months. The current group of people supporting this anti-worker legislation are even more unsympathetic. For just how ugly and bigoted the Tea Party backers of "right to work" are, see here.

In Opposition to this anti-worker effort.

A number of people have come out quickly against this latest anti-worker effort. Ed FitzGerald, candidate for Governor

“I stood against these attacks on our everyday heroes and Ohio’s middle class when I voted against Governor Kasich’s Senate Bill 5,” he said. “As governor, I promise to stand up for the working families in Ohio, and stand behind the middle class that keeps our economy strong.”

David Pepper, candidate for Ohio Attorney General

"I oppose so-called 'right to work' because it hurts families and working people and destroys our middle class. This is a direct attack on our law enforcement officers who keep our communities safe. For these same reasons, I worked with the thousands of volunteers who fought back against Senate Bill 5, the unfair, unsafe attack on us all that voters rejected in 2011.

"But this is also a time when we should be asking all public officials – where do you stand on so-called 'right to work'. Working families and first responders deserve to know, are you with them or against them?"

Rep. Connie Pillich, rumored candidate for Ohio Treasurer

38 people who died on the job last year were remembered Monday at the Cincinnati region Workers Memorial, sponsored by the UAW and AFL-CIO Labor Council. Today, the Ohio GOP introduces legislation that could increase on-the-job deaths by 36%. The So-Called “Right to Work” bills could eliminate workplace safety measures fought for and obtained by labor unions. Dangerous.

Rep. Chris Redfern, Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party

“Here we go again. Apparently Governor Kasich has forgotten what happened the last time he and his Republican allies launched a broadside against the rights of Ohio workers. Ohio was paralyzed and our hard-earned economic recovery, which began a year before Kasich took office, stalled.

Just as SB 5 was soundly rejected by Ohio voters, we expect this unnecessary sideshow – which will do nothing to create more good-paying jobs – to fail, and we intend to hold Governor Kasich accountable for choosing to focus on distractions over Ohio’s middle class. If Kasich doesn’t want this attack on working families to move, he should say so immediately.”

Join the Future opposes these attacks on working people and we call upon our supporters to send a message to their legislators informing them that this legislation is wrong, unfair and unsafe.

Education News for 03-25-2013

State Education News

  • Before high school, students hearing value of college planning (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Several seventh- and eighth-graders at Ridgeview Junior High School in Pickerington already have started to map out their college plans, which include the University of Florida…Read more...

  • Stomachs growled, so lunch-food limits eased (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Some schools are beefing up cafeteria meals after the federal government ended limits on the amount of meat and grain on their menus…Read more...

  • Schools scrambling to ready for online testing (Lima News)
  • Like others in the region, Delphos schools will be ready when state online testing begins in the 2014-15 school year, but also like many, getting there won’t be easy…Read more...

  • How we got to 612 schools (Newark Advocate)
  • Public education in Ohio dates back to before it was a state, with the Northwest Ordinance putting an emphasis on creating schools to educate children…Read more...

  • Voucher plan concerns some area officials (Warren Tribune Chronicle)
  • School officials from Trumbull, Mahoning and Ashtabula counties on Friday met with state lawmakers about Gov. John Kasich's school funding plan and its potential impact on local districts…Read more...

  • Frustrated state lawmakers discuss school funding with Valley superintendents (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • Area school superintendents complained in a meeting with state legislators Friday about the proposed cutback of $600 million in public-school funding and the money they have to pay to charter schools…Read more...

Local Education News

  • School bus fleet ages and grows more costly to maintain as state shifts burden to local taxpayers (Akron Beacon Journal)
  • That school bus you see hauling kids down the road might look nice and yellow, but chances are good it’s old, costly and one of the reasons educators are making sacrifices in the education they provide…Read more...

  • Strengthening school security; Sheriff’s office proposes plan to place deputies in county districts (Lorain Morning Journal)
  • The Lorain County Sheriff’s Office wants to work with school districts in townships to periodically station deputies in school buildings…Read more...

  • Licking County schools wary of adding more shared services (Newark Advocate)
  • Every day, students attending Flying Colors Public Preschool learn a variety of lessons, including how to share…Read more...

  • Big districts can lead to bus issues (Newark Advocate)
  • Amanda King has an hour bus ride to and from Philo High School. This senior uses the morning trip to get the remainder of sleep out of her eyes, and the way home is spent in anticipation of getting something to eat before chores and homework…Read more...

  • Perrysburg Schools named Best Community for Music Education (Toledo Blade)
  • Perrysburg School District has, for the seventh year in a row, been selected as on of the Best Communities for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation…Read more...

  • Kenston, teachers union without contract, working with federal mediator (Willoughby News Herald)
  • A federal mediator is working with the Kenston Education Association and district administrators to help iron out differences arising in contract negotiations…Read more...

  • Columbiana school board clarifies use of bond funds (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • During a special meeting, the Columbiana school board unanimously adopted a resolution clarifying how the proceeds would be spent if…Read more...


    A new leader for Ohio schools (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

    The swearing-in Monday of Richard Ross as Ohio's new state school superintendent comes at a critical time for state education policy. Pending reforms put a premium on stability and integrity at the top…Read more...

  • Kasich's funding formula fails traditional schools; redrafting by the General Assembly is imperative (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • The Ohio legislature ought to rewrite Gov. John Kasich's flawed school-funding formula to reflect the state's higher priority -- adequate funding of the state's traditional public schools…Read more...

  • Mayor Coleman: Let us help (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Over the past several months, we’ve seen our community come together like never before behind the cause of educating our children…Read more...

  • Promising minds are overlooked (Columbus Dispatch)
  • It’s unfortunate that most of the top high-school achievers who are poor don’t apply to the nation’s most-selective colleges and universities…Read more...

  • Settle on system for measurement of Ohio school performance (Lorain Morning Journal)
  • The problem with labels is they rarely tell the whole story. In the case of the Ohio Department of Education’s newest label, the story of school performance has become muddled…Read more...

Education News for 03-13-2013

State Education News

  • Kasich adviser selected as new Ohio schools chief (Education Week)
  • Ohio's state school board picked Republican Gov. John Kasich's top education adviser Tuesday as the new superintendent of public instruction. Richard Ross was selected over acting Superintendent Michael Sawyers by a 10-6 vote…Read more...

  • Ohio to get $20.2M to help low-performing schools (Canton Repository)
  • The U.S. education secretary says Ohio will receive $20.2 million to continue its efforts to help persistently lowest-performing schools raise their students’ achievement.…Read more...

  • Gov. John Kasich's school funding formula would increase charter school aid by 4.5 percent (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • Charter schools would receive about $35 million more from the state -- a 4.5 percent increase -- under Gov. John Kasich's proposed school funding formula than they have over the last two years…Read more...

  • Rural school districts call on state to share wealth (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Superintendents and treasurers from low-income, rural school districts across the state gathered at the Statehouse yesterday to push for significant changes to a funding formula they say punishes their students.…Read more...

  • State reinstates license of ex-Columbus teacher (Columbus Dispatch)
  • After a court battle, the State Board of Education yesterday reinstated the teaching license of a former Columbus teacher whom board members previously had banned from teaching for using poor judgment with an out-of-control child.…Read more...

  • Students, teachers cope (Warren Tribune Chronicle)
  • City schools Superintendent Michael Notar said that when he heard about the Sunday morning crash in which several of his students were killed, his initial thought was to close school on Monday - longer if needed.…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Loveland 'won' with Marschhausen tenure (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  • The Loveland School District is beginning its process of replacing John Marschhausen, but instead of hard feelings, the hope is more of the same. It might have only lasted three years, but Marschhausen’s tenure built the foundation…Read more...

  • 4 Fairfield schools to tighten security (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  • Visitors will no longer be able to enter four Fairfield schools without being buzzed in. It is the latest local school district to beef up security in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings…Read more...

  • Candidate out of race for Columbus school board; no primary (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Paperwork filed by a college intern for the county Republican Party led elections officials to boot a Democratic candidate from the Columbus school-board race yesterday, ending the need for a primary vote.…Read more...

  • Grove changing school administrative structure (Lima News)
  • Facing cuts in state funding and a long list of new state mandates, Columbus Grove schools will change its administrative structure to try to address both.…Read more...

  • TV’s Murphy joins school funding pleas in Columbus (New Philadelphia Times Reporter)
  • Local superintendents joined school representatives from the Appalachian region to speak against Gov. John Kasich’s two-year budget Tuesday at the Ohio Statehouse.…Read more...

  • School subcontractor denies claims (The Findlay Courier)
  • The president of a subcontracting company on Tuesday disputed claims that it has refused to pay painters who worked on the new Glenwood Middle School.…Read more...

  • Rossford IDs school chief pick (Toledo Blade)
  • The Rossford Board of Education will vote next week on its next superintendent, but the board appears to have already made its decision. Daniel Creps, principal of Perrysburg’s Woodland Elementary…Read more...

  • Willoughby-Eastlake teacher resigns after prostitution sting (Willoughby News Herald)
  • The Willoughby-Eastlake School Board accepted the resignation of social studies teacher Ryan Tyna at its most recent board meeting. Tyna was placed on administrative leave Feb. 25 after police arrested him in a prostitution sting involving 11 others.…Read more...

  • Willoughby-Eastlake School Board OKs bond issue, other projects (Willoughby News Herald)
  • The Willoughby-Eastlake School Board covered a lot of ground at its most recent meeting, including approving a $130 million bond issue. The board will now take the issue to the Lake County Auditor's Office for certification…Read more...

  • Youngstown school board approves Hathorn's restructuring plan (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • City school board members gave their blessing to a restructuring plan that will close three buildings and reconfigure and re-purpose others. The board voted 5-1 Tuesday to approve Superintendent Connie Hathorn’s plan…Read more...