Dennis Spisak: John Kasich is Hurting Ohio Public Education

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Memo to Medina and Ohio; John Kasich is hurting Ohio public education

Innovation Ohio reports Gov. John Kasich has chosen Medina as the site of his next State of the State address in February. As he prepares for this event, it is helpful to understand what his two state budgets have done to schools in Medina City and County.
Children in Medina County schools will have $13.7 million less state revenue in the next two school years than they had in the two years prior to Kasich taking office. The Medina City school district alone saw its state funding decline by $4.4 million, or 9.6%.

While state funding declines, school districts in the county are losing more to private and charter schools. Charter School payments — the amount of state funding transferred out of the accounts of traditional public school districts to charters — are up approximately one-third under Kasich to $4.37 million (up from $3.4 million). And that money is not funding success. In the 2011-2012 school year, every dollar transferred from a Medina County school to a charter went to one that performed worse on both the performance index score and state report card ranking – reflecting a disturbing statewide trend of money flowing from higher performing districts to lower performing charter schools.
At the same time, the expansion of the state’s voucher programs for private schools saw Medina County voucher payments explode — to $903,592 annually, up from zero in the time prior to Kasich taking office.

As a result of the state’s continuing focus on school choice, Medina County schools now receive 5.2% less state revenue per student than the state’s funding formula says they need.

Statewide, Kasich’s budgets have cut school funding by $515 million compared to four years earlier. But while public schools have less, charter schools in Ohio are now slated to receive $887 million this year — a 23% increase over the $722 million they received the year before Kasich took office. And taxpayer money being sent to private schools through vouchers has exploded from $79 million to $144 million — a whopping 83% increase.
Meanwhile, Kasich and his legislative allies — led by Medina’s own current Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder — have cut so much revenue to Batchelder’s home county schools that Medina County districts have put $70.8 million in property and income tax levies before voters since May 2011. Folks in Black River alone have faced 6 property or income tax levies since Kasich took office, finally passing one in May 2013.

Ohio needs a governor who will not overburden local property taxpayers to fund public education but will increase state aid, not reduce it. I am that governor.

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