- Aaron Churchill provided testimony on the Senate’s version of the state budget bill during a committee hearing yesterday. Gongwer covered a portion of it: specifically, he thanked the upper chamber for its continued efforts to “root out guarantees.” That is, tweaks to the school funding formula that undermine how the proper distribution of funds is supposed to work. (Gongwer Ohio, 6/8/23) Aaron’s full testimony, including a couple of things he would like to see added before the budget is finalized, can be found here.
- This is one of the very best pieces of mainstream reporting I have ever seen on interdistrict open enrollment, and y’all know that I have been doing this a very long time. (Ignore the headline. It is pointlessly contentious, as is typical.) The whole story is here: A dad who switched first one child, then another to schools across district boundaries (“Both school districts made it easy. There was no ill will that we weren’t sending our children to Hubbard, and Brookfield made it easy and they were welcoming to our kids.”) How lovely! A mom who switched her child and then switched back again when the child’s social needs made it more prudent to stay in their resident district. Easy breezy! The “talk to most educators and they will tell you…” section where unrelated funding issues and irrelevant Statehouse politics are trotted out as some kind of problem standing in the way of/an existing negative aspect of successful functioning of open enrollment. And, best of all, we have the very words of a superintendent from one of those high-performing districts whose borders have never been open to admitting students from outside: “Boardman provides an excellent education. I’ll put education at Boardman Schools up against any district,” he says. But then he continues… “If people want to choose to go elsewhere, that’s their choice. People can choose, but for funding for local tax dollars, that should stay here, and the Fair School Funding Formula keeps it there. I don’t really want to take someone else’s tax dollars or state funding. I want to educate the kids in Boardman. I don’t see Boardman going to open enrollment.” Makes it all very clear. Doesn’t it? Kudos to journalist Patty Coller for this thoroughly excellent piece. (WKBN-TV, Youngstown, 6/7/23)
- Speaking of money (were we really?), here’s a story we’ll only find in the electronic pages of Gongwer. At least for now. In a surprise to no one, less than half of the schools and districts which were sent a survey regarding their participation in the voucher grouchers’ lawsuit provided the requested information to the Auditor of State’s Office. The breakdown of responses: 335 “no, we’re not participating”; 35 “yes, we are participating”; and 47 that were, somehow, unsure whether they were or not. (?!) Those participating reported spending over $186,000 in state funds to pay lawyers who are suing the state to shut down the EdChoice Scholarship Program. (Personally, I’d love to know how many charter schools were in that “no” category vs. districts, but it ain’t my survey…or my news outlet.) Non-responders were given a second deadline—today—by which to respond. Not sure what actions might follow a non-response this time, but I’m sure we will have the opportunity to find out. (Gongwer Ohio, 6/6/23)
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