Editor’s note: This press release was issued today, Jan. 4, 2010, on behalf of the Republican caucus in the Ohio House of Representatives. Rep. Martin represents the 70th Ohio House District, Rep. Morgan represents the 36th Ohio House District, and Rep. Stebelton represents the 5th Ohio House District. Further information regarding this press release may be obtained via Megan Piwowar at (614) 466-0863. As an aside, yours truly, DJW, the Buckeye RINO, thinks it is a huge mistake to depend upon the state’s gambling revenues, including the Lottery, to fund the essentials for K-12 education. In my not-so-humble opinion, such gambling proceeds should be managed as a windfall, as the state ought not to be enticing more and more of Ohio’s residents to begin to gamble, or to gamble more often, or to gamble more $$$. Furthermore, it is the opinion of yours truly that education mandates ought to originate from the citizens within local school districts, not so much the state government, and definitely not the Federal government.
Strickland, House Democrats Gamble With Education: Schools Targeted As Political Pawns Throughout 2009
COLUMBUS— One year to the day House Democrats took the majority, State Representatives Jarrod Martin (R-Beavercreek), Seth Morgan, CPA, (R-Huber Heights), and Gerald Stebelton (R-Lancaster) summarized the 2009 legislative year as time of unfunded mandates on schools and damaging funding cuts to poorer districts, charter schools, e-schools and Catholic schools. Additionally, rather than streamlining state spending to ensure adequate funding for education, Governor Strickland chose to fund K-12 education with unstable revenue from video lottery terminals, an unconstitutional plan that eventually failed and put Ohio’s education system at risk.
“Throughout this economic turmoil, lawmakers Republican or Democrat need to remain committed to ensuring a bright future for Ohio’s students,” said Martin. “The political pandering and aggressive tone that threatened devastating cuts to education was a clear demonstration of partisanship by Governor Strickland and House Democrats who carelessly placed the reductions on education before examining other bloated areas of the Executive branch or legislature.”
House Democrats managed to cut state education funding by nearly $400 million over the next two years, the first time since the DeRolph case of 1997 that the Legislature recommended education funding cuts. They also imposed costly mandates on schools by requiring the implementation of all-day kindergarten starting in the 2010-2011 school year, which many districts have said they could not afford in this economy.
“Recognizing that education is central to Ohio’s long-term success,” said Morgan. “House Republicans proposed numerous ideas to increase Ohio’s chances of receiving federal funding through the Race to the Top program, preserve school choice, and alleviate oppressive mandates on districts. They also introduced a number of amendments to the budget to improve the governor’s evidence-based model.”
The Ohio Department of Development has estimated that establishing all-day kindergarten in Ohio’s 613 school districts will cost more than $200 million, including $127 million in operating costs and $78 million for classroom space. House Republicans avow that enforcing this mandate on already-struggling schools will force many to cut programs or extracurricular activities to be able to afford the mandate.
“I will continue to fight to save the taxpayers of Ohio money, and to cut wasteful government spending, while protecting our most valuable asset, the future of Ohio-our children’s education,” said Stebelton. “I was disheartened by the inept leadership in Columbus to threaten our schools and even libraries while budget discussions were still going on.”
However, House Democrats have silenced many Republican initiatives since the beginning of the General Assembly. Although the Ohio House has been plagued by stalemates and inaction in 2009, House Republicans remain hopeful that 2010 will bring bipartisan discussions about Ohio’s future and how to responsibly bring our education system into the 21st century economy.
January 6, 2010 at 1:40 am
It seems to me, the “higher up” (towards federal) the school mandates are, the more robotic they become. What may sound good on paper does not work well in actual practice. On the other hand, some of the federal level regulations do not even sound good on paper. The financial burden on schools from federal mandates is a waste of money and does not improve education.
January 6, 2010 at 12:07 pm
I think much of the mandates are merely designed to provide employment for education administrators, for which there is a glut in the labor market. High-salaried education administrators, of course, don’t interact with children, thus don’t have positive impacts on educational outcomes no matter how many of them get added to payrolls at all levels of government.
January 6, 2010 at 10:12 am
This whole ordeal is about a bunch of bureaucrats who look at bunch of numbers that the don’t really understand and then cite all the potential improvements with numbers that don’t mean anything. Where is the soul of our schools? Why is it that reading comprehension levels don’t have any correlation with spending? More money does not mean better education. Unstable money almost always will worsen it though. Gambling is a parasitic relationship that will do little to improve the stability of the schools and will bring a host of social ills that will only contribute to the stagnation of the Ohio economy. If someone wants to increase revenue streams to fund schools in the state they better figure out how to produce something in the state again!
January 6, 2010 at 12:10 pm
James, you are so right about that last statement. The way our governments shake down businesses with taxes and bureaucracy leaves the United States and states like Ohio with a depleted economic base of producers. Producers have been moving offshore because government has pushed them there. We need to get back to producing again, for sure.