Posts Tagged 'public education'

Schools Across State Starving in Face of Historically Deep Budget Cuts

As the Ohio House Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education prepares to meet tonight at Lima High School, 1 Spartan Way in Lima at 6pm, State Rep. Matt Lundy (D- Elyria) highlighted the need to put our kids and communities first as they face financial crisis.

Ohio school districts are projecting huge deficits because of $1.4 billion in cuts to education in the state’s operating budget, which passed along party lines.  Schools in Allen County were cut a total of more than $11 million for fiscal years 2012-13 when compared to 2011, including $2.39 million from Lima City Schools and nearly $2 million from Shawnee Local School. Districts across the state are left to struggle with the best way to prepare children for the future with larger class sizes, fewer music and art programs, costly extra-curricular activities and limited or no busing. 

“Rather than addressing the brewing financial crisis facing communities like Lima, where the city schools face a projected deficit of $1.24 million dollars for fiscal year 2013 and more than $3 million for fiscal year 2014, Republicans have decimated school funding.  Schools across the state struggle to cope with unfunded mandates, large class sizes and few teachers in the classroom,” said Rep. Lundy.

House Bill 30 dismantled education reforms set in place by Democrats taking apart key provisions like all-day kindergarten, and it removed the Evidence Based Model for education, returning us to an unconstitutional funding system that is overly reliant on property taxes, while we wait for Gov. Kasich to introduce his own plan, and hold hearings around the state nearly two years later.

“It’s been 15 years since the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that our school funding system is unconstitutional because it relies too heavily on local property tax,” said State Rep. Matt Lundy. “Today, as schools face tough decisions this reliance is only growing, and rather than finding long-term solutions that benefit our students legislators like Rep. Matt Huffman propose taking more money away form public education (HB 136) and handing it to unaccountable for-profit charter schools.”

35 school districts asked citizens to pass levies, increasing their local property taxes, during special elections just last week, with the overwhelming majority of them failing. While school districts across the state are facing a combined school-funding deficit of over $1.79 billion in fiscal year 2014. This is based on a calculation of each school district’s five-year projection of finances, which is required to be submitted to the Ohio Department of Education. Policy Matters Ohio also estimates that school districts in “Fiscal Watch” or “Fiscal Emergency” could spike by 300 percent this year, from 14 to 43.

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Teacher Appreciation: by State Rep. Teresa Fedor

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, consider all the ways that teachers have impacted your life.  It is hard to quantify how much or how well someone inspires a child, but the proof is all around us: the American public education system has helped propel the United States to its position as a world leader and will help it stay there.

We need to remember the importance of public education to society and the importance of society to public education.  We need to support our public schools, because all children deserve the benefit of a well-rounded, comprehensive education that creates life-long learners.

Some years ago, I taught in the Toledo Public School system.  The Revolutionary War period was always my favorite thing to teach, and one year I integrated every other subject into a year-long study of the Revolutionary War.  I am also a veteran, so to me it seemed natural to connect social studies and civics.  I remember that year so well because the kids were so engaged – they were so intent on reading, they forgot when it was time to go to gym.  I wanted to pass that love of American history and civic responsibility to my students, because my teachers instilled it in me – and that changed the course of my life.

After 12 years in the Toledo Public Schools, I moved on to elected office and served as a legislator to the citizens of Northwest Ohio.  I have been both a State Senator and a State Representative, and in my years in the legislature, I have noticed that respect for teachers has significantly eroded.  I was shocked last year to hear people criticize teachers as the bane of society, when everything teachers do props society up.  The reality of the obstacles teachers face every day just to do their jobs is sobering – and it is all happening with larger and larger classrooms and smaller and smaller budgets.

When teachers are negotiating to do our jobs, we are advocating for our children.  Politicians think we’re separate from the children we serve, advocating only for ourselves as teachers, but we are advocating for the children we are working to inspire.  As an adult, I can look back at the teachers from my youth – the women and men who shaped me intellectually – and know that they had my best interests in mind, they worked hard, and they only made it look easy.  This week, show your teacher you appreciate the effort!


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