In 2011, Kasich’s first budget cut $1.8 billion in state funding from Ohio’s schools.  The new governor urged Ohioans to reject new school levies that might help replace some of the money he stole.

His latest budget maintains a large portion of those cuts for public schools while increasing payments to Ohio’s poorly performing charter schools.    But has the Governor suddenly had a change of heart about school levies?

If you were at Monday’s bill signing ceremony for The Columbus Plan (HB167), you might have asked yourself that question.   Kasich, appearing with Columbus Mayor Mike Coleman, signed into law a measure that will require Columbus to put a new school levy on the ballot in November.  “We need this to pass,” said Kasich.

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Young protester Miles Fulmer holds up a sign outside the bill signing

In the two years since Kasich took office, districts around the state have placed $1.3 billion in new school levies on the ballot to help cover the large hole in funding left by his budget cuts.   With the exception of the Cleveland Plan (which weakened the teachers union) and the subsequent levy needed to support it, Kasich has failed to support any attempt by schools to raise revenue in the face of massive funding cuts from the state.

So did Kasich suddenly have a change of heart about school levies?

Why else would he show up at a public school a few blocks from my house in Clintonville to sign a bill that would force the city to put a new school levy on the ballot?

The answer, of course, comes back to charter schools. 

The 9.01 mil levy that is planned for this November’s ballot will not only increase property taxes by $315 for each $100k in home value, according to the Dispatch, but it will set aside 1 mil specifically for charter schools.   That adds up to $8.5 million funneled away from the city’s public schools.

Keep in mind that charter schools already steal funding away from traditional public schools, with the per-pupil funding paid to charter schools taken directly away from the public school system the student would have attended.  And the public school systems are still responsible for paying to bus kids to the charter school.

Charters pay their non-union teachers worse than public schools but still manage to spend more on administration than public schools.

But most importantly, Charters, on average, do not perform well, with 3 out of 4 receiving an F on this new state report card, and they are getting worse under Kasich even though funding is going up in his budget for some the poorest-performing charters (which just happen to be operated by big Republican campaign donors.)

The charter-supporting levy proposal came out of recommendations made by the Columbus Education Commission (CEC), a group appointed by Mayor Coleman and driven in large part by the business community.

As Miriam Bowers Abbot points out at ColumbusUnderground, the CEC was not representative of the families who count of the Columbus City Schools to educate their children: “many of its members live outside the school district; ninety-six percent of the members have exactly zero children in the city schools.”

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So does Kasich suddenly love school levies?  Does Kasich suddenly care about Columbus families, their wishes, and the education of their children?  

Nope and Nope.  The Columbus Plan gives the mayor the power to sponsor new charter schools and it requires Columbus to pursue a school levy that must be shared with charter schools.   That is why Kasich likes it.

Unfortunately, many Columbus parents and students have a different opinion, as Monday’s protest demonstrated.   And without the support of the community, any new school levy is going to have a difficult time getting passed in Columbus.

 

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Protesters shout “shame on you” during the Columbus Plan bill signing ceremony in front of Indianola Alternative School in Columbus

Evangelize!
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  • Natasha

    Of course Kasuck loves school levies – now. He and his slimy politician accomplices can make some cash here now.

    HB167 give Kasuck and other slimy pols the opportunity to pilfer more money from taxpayers, divert it from public education, steer it to privately-owned charter school operators and extract even more political contributions from the charter school operators.

    HB167 is just another method to destroy public education, teaching professionals, teachers’ unions and enrich slimy pols and scumbag charter school operators who know how to pay-(pols)-to-play. It’ll also help bolster the effort of the Republicans with their construction of a permanent American underclass by eliminating advancement from the ranks for persons who gain a good education from public schools.

    The professional pols like Kasuck and, it seems, Mayor Mike, see the cash pipeline within HB167 and they ain’t gonna let the amateur pols on school boards get to the front of the cash cow milking line.

    It’s full speed ahead: f*** pubic education – f*** school kids – f*** taxpayers (especially those in urban districts) – raise taxes at the local school district level – siphon the cash to their buddies in the charter school business – and reap the campaign contributions for doing all they can with HB167.

    Every slimy pol’s a winner and can increase revenue from a new way to fleece taxpayers with HB167.

  • dmoore2222

    I love how these republicans lecture everybody about efficiency and high performance then turn around and throw money at charter schools that have established an abysmal performance record for nearly twenty years now. They must think that a photo op with a popular mayor will make people overlook this and their unimpressive job creation record, legislative assault on women, unconstitutional public school funding system, out of control higher ed costs, crubmling infrastructure, etc. What are they going to campaign on for November 2014? Fracking?

  • Think.

    The only public school levies that Gov. Kasich has ever supported have been the “Cleveland Plan” and the “Columbus Plan.” Both initiatives will give public tax dollars to private charter schools, as well as diminish the teachers’ unions- two objectives at the top of his to-do list.

  • missskeptic

    The tax money goes to the charter schools. The charter school owners get rich. Then they make huge campaign donations to Kasich and cronies. Tax money goes right into campaign coffers.

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