Hosted by the Nord Family Foundation, Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and Ohio Grantmakers Forum with additional support from the Edward A. Lozick Foundation, Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, Nordson Corporation Foundation, and Stocker Foundation.
The Buckeye State has been hit hard by the national recession and faces an estimated $8 billion biennial budget shortfall. This fiscal crisis will have a serious impact on K-12 education as 40 percent of state revenue goes toward public schools. While most Ohio district superintendents and local school boards have accepted the new reality of doing more with less, the fact remains that they have little experience when it comes to handling the level of funding reductions expected this year, and will need to be equipped to handle them in a way that will not decimate existing education reform initiatives or harm student achievement. For these reasons, we are assembling free public events to help local education, business, and community leaders identify ways to think smart about cuts to school spending while staying focused on student achievement.
Chester E. Finn, Jr., president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, will facilitate both event discussions. Finn is a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, chairman of Hoover's Koret Task Force on K-12 Education, and senior editor of Education Next.
Paolo DeMaria is a principal at Education First Consulting and brings an Ohio-specific perspective to the panels. His previous roles include several executive leadership positions at the Ohio Department of Education, state budget director, chief policy advisor under former Gov. Taft, and most recently, the executive vice chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents.
Nathan Levenson is co-founder of District and Community Partners, a Boston-based consulting group helping districts improve their special needs programming while also reducing costs. He has spent much of his career in the private sector, both as a strategic planning management consultant and as a turnaround consultant helping struggling firms. A passion for public education led him to a career switch during which he served six years as a school board member, was assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in Harvard, Massachusetts, and most recently was superintendent of the Arlington Public Schools in Massachusetts.
Steven F. Wilson is founder and president of Ascend Learning, a charter school management organization in New York City, and a senior fellow at Education Sector in Washington, DC. He is a former executive vice president for product development at Edison Schools and senior fellow at the Center for Business and Government of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.