Adequately funding my school

JTF recently recieved this essay from Worthington City Schools senior, Hassan Mizra.

Education helps broaden the minds of young individuals to help them achieve success in the future. All across America students go to school to learn and prepare for their futures. Just imagine the students walking into a classroom with new desks with four stable legs, new chairs that aren’t cracked or missing parts and sitting down to their personal laptop provided by the school. This sounds like a school that most parents would want their children to attend. Wouldn’t it be great if all schools had all these? Wouldn’t it be fascinating if all students were able to partake in an improved quality of education for every school?

The state's previous budget cut public school funding by $1.8 billion, which ultimately hurt Ohio's public education system. Ohio Governor John Kasich introduced a new state budget, which proposed a reform of the school funding formula. The new budget promised more money to the less funded school districts, but the promise proved empty. But the Governor, through the Republican dominated legislature, is doing the exact opposite. They are continuing to underfund public schools while increase funding to charter schools and further pushing public education into the hands of private corporations.

For the 2011-12 school year, Worthington Schools received $54,952,536 all total funds, and Olentangy Local Schools received $50,863,323. These two districts are 2 of the best in central Ohio, where they benefit from higher than typical property valuations. An essential aspect for each of these districts' high ratings is because they receive the necessary funding that a public school district should have.

However, the underfunding of public schools in Ohio is an enormous issue that affects many people, especially students. There is a need to re-work the current formula used by Ohio to determine how school funds are disbursed and also to increase public support for education funding. Limited funds for public schools have primarily affected the poor and have put them at a disadvantage in getting a quality education. Whitehall, generally speaking, has a lower property valuation. The schools in Whitehall do not receive the sufficient funding they deserve as a public school district.

Unequal funding throughout the state demonstrates the unfairness some school districts face. Is it fair that schools that reside in low property valuation areas don’t have the necessities to educate their youth?

The reason that some schools can't do things like buy computers and maintain their buildings to begin with is because the school funding system is so ineffective. The US government pays only 7% of all school money, and the rest is up to the state and the local tax-payers. Whatever money the state won't pay is paid as school income tax or property taxes, which are higher or lower depending on how much the property is worth, and the incomes of the districts residents. But this means that schools in poor neighborhoods get little money while wealthy schools get nearly all they need.

The Governor needs to start funding public education fairly and adequately. According to the Ohio Association of Independent Schools (OAIS) the vast majority Ohio students, roughly 1.85 million attend public schools, so it would make sense for the Governor to turn his attention towards public education. Despite whether a child's parents are wealthy or poor, it is in everyone's interest to guarantee that America's future generations are both highly skilled and well educated.

Union members spotlight - day 1

When we predicted that the biggest fight over SB5 was still ahead, little did we think that almost 1 in 3 general assembly districts being contested would have candidates with union memberships, including 14 teachers. With just a week to go before the 2012 primary election on March 6th, we thought we would highlight a group of those individuals each day of the week.

It should be noted that the districts listed below are new as a consequence of the legislative redistricting process that happened last year.

House District 7 - Matt Patten (D)
House District 7 - Matt Patten
Matt Patten represented the former 18th District from 2009 to 2011, and is affiliated with Laborers. You can learn more about Matt, here. He is in an uncontested primary and will face current state Rep Mike Dovilla in November. Rep. Dovilla voted for both SB5 and the budget HB153 which contained SB5 like provisions while simultaneously cutting billions from education funding.

House District 16 - Todd Laveck (D)
House District 16 - Todd Laveck
Todd Laveck is an OFT member, and Cleveland school teacher. He is running in a contested primary, and has garnered the following endorsements: Ohio Education Association, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Northern Ohio Fire Fighters Association, Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, Teamsters Local 407, Cleveland Teachers Union Local 279, Cleveland Custodians Union Local 777, Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, Fairview Park Mayor Eileen Patton, State Senator Michael Skindell, State Representative Nickie Antonio, State Representative Mike Foley, State Representative Kenny Yuko, Former State Representative Jennifier Brady, Fairview Park Democratic Club, Former North Olmsted Mayor Thomas O'Grady.

You can find out more about Todd, here. If he is successful in winning the March 6th primary, he will face incumbent Nan Baker who also voted against the middle class and schools, voting for SB5 and HB153.

House District 20 - Marco Miller (D)
House District 20 - Marco Miller
Marco Miller is a retired member of IAFF (firefighters) having served 25 years in the Columbus Division of Fire. You can find out more about Marco, here. He too is running in a contested primary. Marco is running in a contest primary to replace incumbent Nancy Garland.

He has the following list of endorsements: Franklin County Democratic Party, Greater Columbus/Franklin County United Auto Workers- CAP Council, Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA), Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT), Plumbers and Pipefitters, Sheet Metal Workers, Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio, Immigrant Citizens of Ohio PAC, Franklin County Commissioner Paula Brooks, Franklin County Commission John O’Grady, Franklin County Clerk of Courts Maryellen O’Shaughnessy, Franklin County Municipal Clerk of Courts Lori Tyack, Columbus City Council Member Hearcel Craig, Columbus City Councilman Zach Klein, Columbus City Councilwoman Eileen Paley, Madison Township Trustee Edward Dildine, Whitehall City Councilwoman Karen Conison, Whitehall City Council President Jim Graham, Whitehall City Councilwoman Leslie LaCorte, Whitehall City Auditor Dan Miller, State Representative Teresa Fedor, Franklin County Recorder Candidate Terry Brown, Past Franklin County Democratic Party Chairwoman Fran Ryan, Past Franklin County Democratic Party Chairman Denny White

House District 21 - Donna O'Connor (D)
House District 21 - Donna O'Connor
Donna O'Connor is a member of OEA and a special education teacher in Dublin. She is endorsed by the Franklin County Democratic Party, the Ohio Education Association and Emily's List. if successful in her primary she will face incumbent Rep. Duffy whose votes for SB5 and HB153 also harmed the middle class. You can find out more about Donna, here.

District 24 - Maureen Reedy (D)
District 24 - Maureen Reedy
Maureen Reedy is also a member of OEA. She was Teacher of the Year for the Upper Arlington City School District in 2001 and the Ohio Teacher of the Year in 2002. Maureen is uncontested on the March 6th ballot and will face Stephanie Kunze in november in a contest to replace incumbent Ted Celeste who is running for Senate District 3.

You can learn more about Maureen, here.

Tomorrow we will take a look at another 5 union members running for the Ohio General Assembly.