Release: State Representatives’ Focus on School Funding is Spot On

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Early childhood education critical to student success; transparency, tax relief owed to citizens -- Statement by Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper

(Columbus - Jan. 30,2013) Ideas pushed today by state Reps. Teresa Fedor, Debbie Phillips and Matt Lundy are spot on for where Ohio needs to focus its next education budget. Identifying early childhood education as a key priority is a huge step in strengthening the foundation of every child’s learning and future achievement. 
At the same time, the state must focus on reducing the impacts of its past practices that cause increased taxes for local property owners. Slashing $1.8 billion from the school funding line of the last budget continued the state’s pattern of unfairly pushing the tax burden onto the shoulders of local communities.
Every taxpayer deserves to know how his or her taxes are being spent. The representatives’ call for transparency and accountability in Ohio’s failing charter school system is valid. Currently, not even the state knows how money given to for-profit charter schools is spent.
Increased accountability and transparency with more focus on early education is a solid pathway to transforming Ohio’s public schools. The Ohio Federation of Teachers supports the concepts discussed today by legislators and calls for the governor to incorporate these in his budget proposal.
In addition, we urge the governor, the state House and Senate to include the voices of educators, parents, taxpayers and students in the process of determining those things that will most improve Ohio schools. Budget decisions must take into account the knowledge of our experts in the classroom as well as stakeholders who make up our communities. A collaborative discussion will achieve the best outcome.