Last night I had the opportunity to directly participate in the legislative process when I provided testimony in front of the House Education Committee.  I was privileged to listen to numerous amazing individuals from all over Ohio speak about the adverse effects of this legislation on their schools and community.  Sadly, too many Republicans on the committee ignored cold, hard facts and passed the bill, 12-10, moving it to a floor vote.  In the end, two Republican committee members went against their party, Representatives Anielski and Baker.

Printed below is the written testimony I submitted to the committee for their consideration.  While my original intent was to read the testimony, I went off script after patiently waiting 4 hours in the freezing committee room for my turn to speak.  After introducing myself I said,

Four hours ago I was nervous about speaking, but now I’m just cold and hungry.  As such, I’m going to cut to the chase and start talking numbers.  Because there is nothing better than listening to statistics after 9:00 at night, right?

I can’t express how at ease I felt from that point forward, and I jumped right to the charts you’ll see below and began explaining the numbers – straight from ODE’s funding reports.  I urge you to take your time in digesting the numbers and understanding the implications both to districts and the legislators who voted this through.  I tried to provide some brief explanations with each chart, but feel like there is nothing as good as explaining these numbers face-to-face with the elected officials who represent these districts.  I specifically chose the districts in my testimony because they are home districts of committee members.  Rest assured, that fact was noticed by all.  The experience was nerve-wracking and invigorating.  Enjoy!

Written Testimony

Ohio House of Representatives
House Education Committee, Gerald L. Stebelton, Chair
Gregory P. Mild, Educator, Columbus Education Association

Chair Stebelton and members of the committee,

I am not going to spend my time in an effort to sway your view on the ideology of this legislation.  I honestly can’t envision a scenario where a guest speaker to this committee could legitimately have an impact on your deep-seated beliefs any more than I can envision a scenario where the committee could alter mine.

Likewise, I am not an attorney and will not be discussing the probable court cases that will address the illegalities of House Bill 136, questioning the constitutionality of the state’s decision to redirect additional public tax dollars toward private enterprises.  I’ll let some lawyers get their income stimulated through that process.

Instead, I want to submit some numbers that have me questioning the intent of this legislation.  The figures that House Bill 136 proposes are not only clearly inequitable and grossly inflated; they will also cause many taxpayers to scratch their heads and further question the logic of this elected body.  I am fairly certain that you are well aware that the school funding model in Ohio has been under tremendous scrutiny for years and none of the recent legislation that has reached the Governor’s desk has done anything to correct the issue of state funding.  This legislation, instead of leading Ohio down the path to school funding utopia, burdens us with further inequities that my generation will be tasked with trying to clean up.

The problem I find in the numbers is this – through this voucher model, the state will be shifting money into private schools at a much greater rate than what the public school is receiving.  Additionally, because state funding is unequally distributed on a per pupil basis (for many reasons, of course), the vouchers are subsequently not available to all students in the same way, discounting the notion and alleged need for this legislation in the first place.  The charts below include some of the most egregious offenses of the application of the bill on school districts.

I have updated the figures to reflect the changes to the bill from Monday, September 19.  The school funding figures are from the Ohio Department of Education for 2011-2012 and the median federal AGI amounts are from the Ohio Department of Taxation for the tax year 2009, the most recent figures available.

District name Centerville City SD (Montgomery County)
Median income $49,166
Total enrollment 8,387
Net per pupil state funding $1,145.41
Voucher amount $4,626
Voucher/per pupil 4.04
Available vouchers 2,050
% of students eligible 24%
Number of students remaining 6,337

Ohio will pay a private school over four times the amount per pupil than is paid to Centerville City for their public school students.  24% of the students could control 100% of the state funding through the use of vouchers.

District name Sylvania City SD (Lucas County)
Median income $45,692
Total enrollment 7,646
Net per pupil state funding $1,412.02
Voucher amount $4,626
Voucher/per pupil 3.28
Available vouchers 2,273
% of students eligible 30%
Number of students remaining 5,373

Ohio will pay a private school over three times the amount per pupil than is paid to Sylvania City for their public school students.  30% of the students could control 100% of the state funding through the use of vouchers.

District name Hudson City SD (Summit County)
Median income $70,969 (5th highest in Ohio)
Total enrollment 4,825
Net per pupil state funding $2,115.82
Voucher amount $3,470
Voucher/per pupil 1.64
Available vouchers 2,912
% of students eligible 60%
Number of students remaining 1,913

Unlike the previous two examples, the Hudson City School District in Summit County has the 5th highest median income in Ohio, yet will receive greater voucher support by way of 60% of the student population having access and the amount only being slightly more than 1.5 times their per pupil funding amount.

District name Salem City SD (Columbiana County)
Median income $27,129
Total enrollment 2,290
Net per pupil state funding $2,485.75
Voucher amount $5,783
Voucher/per pupil 2.33
Available vouchers 916
% of students eligible 40%
Number of students remaining 1,373

The median income in the Salem City School District is less than half of Hudson City, is $13,000 below the base qualifying amount for 100% of the voucher funding, and only 40% of those students would be able to have access to the vouchers before zeroing out the account.

District name Elida Local SD (Allen County)
Median income $32,053
Total enrollment 2,548
Net per pupil state funding $2,130.13
Voucher amount $5,783
Voucher/per pupil 2.71
Available vouchers 874
% of students eligible 34%
Number of students remaining 1,674

Elida Local School District is in Allen County and is similar to Salem City in median income and total enrollment, and the numbers involving the vouchers are comparable.

District name Shawnee Local SD (Allen County)
Median income $40,017
Total enrollment 2,448
Net per pupil state funding $959.57
Voucher amount $5,783
Voucher/per pupil 6.03
Available vouchers 404
% of students eligible 16%
Number of students remaining 2,044

Elsewhere in Allen County is the Shawnee Local School District with a median income level that comes in right under the base amount for 100% voucher funding, 25% higher than Elida Local.  However, with less per pupil funding allocated for Shawnee, the vouchers represent an amount six times greater than the public school student share.  With only 404 vouchers available until the state funding forShawneereaches $0, it represents a situation where only 16% of the students have control over the entire allocation of Shawnee Local’s state funding.

District name Westlake City SD (Cuyahoga County)
Median income $47,783
Total enrollment 3,975
Net per pupil state funding $481.09
Voucher amount $4,626
Voucher/per pupil 9.62
Available vouchers 407
% of students eligible 10%
Number of students remaining 3,568

Westlake City School District in Cuyahoga County represents one of the many districts with numbers that are severely out of alignment.  With such a small amount of state funding, Westlake will lose over nine times their per pupil amount to each voucher that is awarded, meaning that only 10% of the students could actually receive the vouchers before the amount of state funding to Westlake is completely expended.  When this occurs, Westlake will have over 3,500 students receiving a total of $0 in state education funding.

District name Copley-Fairlawn City SD (Summit County)
Median income $47,534
Total enrollment 3,369
Net per pupil state funding $265.27
Voucher amount $4,626
Voucher/per pupil 17.44
Available vouchers 186
% of students eligible 6%
Number of students remaining 3,183

Copley-Fairlawn City Schools are an example of one of the most extreme disparities in funding via this voucher proposal. A scant 6% of students would be able to get vouchers at over 17 times the per pupil amount, using every last state dollar entering the district, and leaving 94% of students and their parents with absolutely no funding support from the state.

District name Olentangy Local SD (Delaware County)
Median income $74,476 (Highest in Ohio)
Total enrollment 15,902
Net per pupil state funding $331.41
Voucher amount $3,470
Voucher/per pupil 10.47
Available vouchers 1,505
% of students eligible 9%
Number of students remaining 14,396

Closer to central Ohiois the fastest growing school district in the state and currently the 8th largest.  Olentangy Local also has the distinction of having the highest median income for all school districts inOhio.  While this status means that most Olentangy students will qualify for a lesser voucher amount because of this income, the voucher amount is still over 10 times the amount an Olentangy Local student is allocated by the state.  And if only 9% opt for the vouchers, since that would be the limit, then the remaining 91% of students are left with no state funding.

District name Lancaster City SD (Fairfield County)
Median income $29,791
Total enrollment 6,311
Net per pupil state funding $2,740.46
Voucher amount $5,783
Voucher/per pupil 2.11
Available vouchers 2,767
% of students eligible 44%
Number of students remaining 3,544

And finally, Lancaster City School District with median income of under $30,000 and where the state is valuing the private school tuition at twice the value of the public schools and less than half of the residents will have access to this program.


If this legislation passes, I wonder how you, the elected representatives for the public, will be able to explain to parents why you have chosen to pay a private school 2 times, 3 times, or greater than 10 times the amount that are paying for their child’s school.

The shifting of public money to private entities is not going to fix educational funding in Ohio and the premise that the competition will cause improvement is misguided when the financial odds are stacked in the favor of one side over the other.

I respectfully request that you table this legislation so that you may focus your efforts on meaningful endeavors that will serve to strengthen Ohio’s public education system so that each and every child can learn something new every single day.

 

At the end, I told the committee that I provided this particular testimony because I knew that some of them needed to have a reason to be able to vote “no” that was not based on opinion or ideology and that this information gave them the excuse they needed.  They could take these facts to their constituents and explain why they could not support such an inequitable funding system.  Two of them might have taken that handout, and I have strong reason to believe that the Democrats on the committee intend to put the heat on the others.

I intend to add fuel to the fire.

 

 

Evangelize!
  • Print
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
 
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carrie-Preston/100000765994211 Carrie Preston

    When you first posted the blog about hb136 I immediately contacted Al Landis who never responded to my e-mail so I re e-mailed him and told him I will not vote for him and I will campaign against him when he tries to run for re-election!

  • Anonymous

    Ironic that the pirates and their moral compass tea-baggers like to point to how great Ohio and the U.S.A. were when the founding fathers established our country, but these very people now wish to do away with the one thing that made this country great for 236 years – universal public education.  I know it is a stretch for me to say anything serious, especially about these saddle-bums, but they have reached a new low by trying to dismantle the very system that has taken us through nearly two and a half centuries and made us the envy of the world.  How do they sleep at night?

  • Anonymous

    Ironic that the pirates and their moral compass tea-baggers like to point to how great Ohio and the U.S.A. were when the founding fathers established our country, but these very people now wish to do away with the one thing that made this country great for 236 years – universal public education.  I know it is a stretch for me to say anything serious, especially about these saddle-bums, but they have reached a new low by trying to dismantle the very system that has taken us through nearly two and a half centuries and made us the envy of the world.  How do they sleep at night?

  • Anonymous

    If I understood what Huffman said correctly last night, he has nine (yes, 9) children.  

  • exfloridateacher

    how do the republicans going to deal with the Constitution of Ohio
    section 6.02
    ” Schools funds

    The General Assembly shall make such provisions, by
    taxation, or otherwise, as, with the income arising from the school
    trust fund, will secure a thorough and efficient system of common
    schools throughout the state; but no religious or other sect, or sects,
    shall ever have any exclusive right to, or control of, any part of the
    school funds of this state.”

    http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/constitution.cfm?Part=6&ExpandSections=Yes
    a statute in existence since 1851?

  • http://plunderbund.com Joseph

    It’s a good question. Current vouchers can be used Catholic schools, so it seems like it’s already being done.

    Brian?

  • Anonymous

    I guess you gave Nan Baker, representing Westlake, a reason to vote against it. Someone said tonight she’d voted for it but I guess they were mistaken. Both Baker and Anielski represent a swath of very upscale school districts in Cuyahoga County that are already up in arms about the cuts in state funding they’ve had. Both also already have very energetic challengers.

  • Anonymous

    Does that mean he could get a $5,000 check for each child, earning him $45,000 a year in welfare? I’m sorry but if he has nine children, he needs to accept “personal responsibility” for their schooling and not expect the taxpayers to pick up the tab — especially for education in a religion not all of us support. I do NIOT want my tax dollars going to any part of the Catholic church.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carrie-Preston/100000765994211 Carrie Preston

    Again it is looking good to me to open that school run and owned by the teachers. Let’s see 360 students times $7000 tuition equals $2,520,000 to run a
    school owned and operated by teachers for students. Let the state pay for a large percentage of it and the teachers will earn more than we do now and still have what we need to teach, maybe even more. Sounds better every
    day. Have an entrance requirement take those who can learn. Then do our
    best teaching with no restrictions.

  • Adrienne

    The TGOPers don’t care about the Constitution unless they can use it to take our rights away, to rob us, to wreck the state and the country and to make the rotten rich richer. 

    The R”s and their masters and their minions own this state and are selling us off to the lowest bidder. Makes the profit margin better. 

  • Anonymous

    I looked up Huffman’s bio and he has only four children. But still … I am uneasy about the enormous number of Roman Catholics in our government today because, like Republicans, these are not your father’s Catholics. Back in the day, John F. Kennedy had to reassure people that his faith was private and that his decisions in office would be made keeping in mind that ours is a religiously diverse country by design. 

    Too many of today’s Roman Catholic officeholders seem to feel they should legislate their beliefs on the rest of us, whether it’s about abortion and gay marriage, or getting the rest of us to subsidize parochial school for their kids and indirectly also subsidize their church, since it has the largest system of parochial schools in the country, and they have run into financial trouble, in large part due to the priest sex scandals. I find it disturbing that this has been given a pass by courts when I believe it is clearly unconstitutional — and these are the same people attempting to gin up outrage at tax dollars allegedly being used for abortion (which they are not). I could as easily turn around and say I don’t want my tax dollars to support pedophilia — a much more direct connection and correct contention. I no more believe in pedophilia than they believe in abortion.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CW2J65B3NDO5CJIMRP4FYJMPSU Adrienne

    Thanks for the information, Greg.  Appreciate your efforts.

  • Anthony Fossaceca

    I want to point out that while she voted against this in committee, Representative Anielski’s name is still on the bill. She’s a co-sponsor. Seems pretty odd.

  • Anonymous

    Uh oh. Trying to have it both ways. How very Romney-esque of her.

  • Anonymous

    I’m going to be optimistic and posit that she was swayed by the testimony that included a diverse slate of well-articulated opposition viewpoints.  I heard many clear reasons to vote against during this last hearing.

  • http://profiles.google.com/ohknighty Adrienne Knight

    GOPers are good at wrecking stuff, on purpose. Then they call it a failure that should be privatized, de-funded, de-regulated so that they can can guarantee profits for their rich masters.

    They are especially great at blaming others for their messes.  We clean up the mess and pay for it. We didn’t even get invited to the party.

    People didn’t vote. People voted for evil.

    We can reverse some of this crap by voting no on Issue 2.

  • Anonymous

    Like privatizing the prisons (one privatized, one taken back by the state, and three “No thank you” by the “private” sector – net change = 0% privatizations).  Or the turnpike (makes enough money to pay for itself but ODOT can’t tap the funds), well regulated by the commission (but ODOT can’t boss it around) sets toll rates by law (the legislature must approve rate increases but ODOT doesn’t get a share), built and has operated over 50 years without using tax payer dollars (ODOT cant suck enough out in taxes to operate efficiently for one year).  Or “privatized” schools (which will take taxpayer money from public schools by use of vouchers, AND charge tuition, doesn’t have any oversight and gets to graduate lower rates of students AND gets to indoctrinate in far right conservative values).  Let’s see, is there any other lame-brained idea that the GOP could do that I have overlooked?  Yes there is: “Lets cut not raise taxes on the rich, lets push the cost of government down hill to the local level and say we are saving the state money!”
     
    Vote “NO” on Issue AND tell everyone you know to do the same, and if they are republicans, tell them five times because they never get anything the first time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carrie-Preston/100000765994211 Carrie Preston

    It just keeps sounding  better and better !

  • Anonymous

    Didn’t the Cleveland School Choice voucher program go all the way to the US Supreme Court (the same court that decided Bush v. Gore), and that court decided in favor of allowing public education dollars to go to religious parochial schools? 

  • Anonymous

    Didn’t the Cleveland School Choice voucher program go all the way to the US Supreme Court (the same court that decided Bush v. Gore), and that court decided in favor of allowing public education dollars to go to religious parochial schools? 

  • Anonymous

     And you shouldn’t focus solely on Catholic schools.  Back in the day, when over 90% of parochial schools were Catholic, taxpayer assistance to the parents of parochial school children was anathema and the work of the devil.  It has only been since fundamentalist Christian schools have arrived on the scene that voucher programs are A-OK.  And those fundamentalist Christian schools were established in large part to avoid the consequences of desegregation.

  • Donus

    Remember the repubs control the courts in Ohio and Issue ONE wants to give them at least another 5 years on the court.   NO on ONE, TWO, and THREE

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:


Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!