To the editor:
I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with the governor's proposed school-funding plan. I have no idea how he or his advisers could possibly justify their decision to give additional funding to already thriving schools, while giving schools that are absolutely in desperate need nothing. After all, the reason schools are in financial trouble and are closing buildings, reducing busing and cutting staff is because the state keeps reducing money that is crucial to keeping districts running and providing the excellent education that every child in the state deserves. He can try and justify his philosophy, but in the end, he needs to throw his idealistic formulas away and start looking at the realities that schools are facing. Realities like failed levies, loss of potential gas and oil tax dollars (because he chose to take that money away from the counties that generated it and disperse over the entire state), increased state-mandated responsibilities without subsidy and declining enrollment.
Superintendents should not be called to Columbus to listen to his political rhetoric and lead them to believe his goal is to help them, then turn around and give 76 percent of the rural and high-poverty districts zero while giving a wealthy district in Columbus a 331 percent increase. He is just continuing the use of House Bill 920, which has been deemed unconstitutional. Rewarding districts because they are fortunate enough to increase enrollment and penalizing others because of matters that are out of their control hardly seems like leveling the playing field.
If he truly feels his method of school selection is justifiable, then he needs to come to the schools he has disregarded and explain to the students and their families, staff and community why their kids are less important than the kids who live in areas that ultimately provide him with political gain.
In spite of his total disregard, we welcome him to come to Edison Local and see our successes despite inadequate state support. Successes like being deemed a District of Excellence with Distinction and each of our four schools in the district receiving a state grade of School of Excellence, as well as exceeding all expectations by increasing student ACT scores by an unprecedented 1.2 percent. This has all been accomplished with the lowest student-to-teacher ratio allowed by law. But the sad fact is, our schools cannot continue to maintain that standard of excellence that they are committed to providing without a change in the way the state chooses to fund Ohio schools.
Schools are being forced to offer only state minimum requirements in academics, teacher-student ratio and busing. As responsible adults, we should want more for our kids than just the minimum. Kids in every part of this state should be receiving the best education possible, not just what the state deems as acceptable.
Do the right thing and support education and kids, they are our future. Call the governor's office to express your concerns and demand a change in his school funding plan.