From Saturday’s Columbus Dispatch:

Making good on campaign promises, Republicans in the Ohio House are preparing legislation to repeal key elements of Ohio’s school-funding setup, including a requirement that school districts offer tuition-free, all-day kindergarten.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, said he hopes the legislation to undo much of former Gov. Ted Strickland’s evidence-based model will "send a strong message from Columbus that there is mandate relief and cost savings on the way as (district officials) plan for the next school year."

Gardner’s measure also would wipe out a plan to fund smaller class sizes throughout Ohio schools.

In addition to repealing all-day kindergarten, Gardner’s bill would:

  • abolish mandates that schools establish family and civic engagement councils
  • abolish the requirements  that they issue reports detailing how they spend the tax dollars they receive’;
  • also would eliminate a provision that districts failing to comply be sanctioned;

In other words, not only are the Republicans merely repealing Strickland’s evidence-based school funding model, but they’re dismantling most of the other reforms that went along with it… and the $400 million in federal “Race to the Top” money that Ohio was awarded in a highly competitive grant to help pay for these changes.

To date, Governor Kasich, nor his allies in the legislature, have yet to identify what they plan to replace the evidence-based school funding model with.  However, Gardner says he hopes to have the Republicans pass this bill before the legislature tackles the budget.

Gardner falsely presents this bill as repealing “unfunded mandates” by Strickland’s school reforms, but the bill that enacted the reforms clearly states that this mandates aren’t phased in until the funding for them is phased in as well.

I’m hard pressed to see how these changes do not result in Ohio also losing the $400 million in “Race to the Top” challenge money, which (of course) is left out of the reporting entirely.

Shortly after the election, we predicted that Kasich would cost the State $800 million in federal funding in just the 3C and “Race to the Top” money alone.  Gov. Kasich told the media not to believe us.  That he was confident he could go to Washington and convince them to let Ohio use the 3C money as he saw fit.  He came back empty handed.  Ohio lost the 3C funding as we, and the U.S. Dept. of Transportation had been warning for some time.

Then Kasich said that “Race to the Top” money wasn’t in danger.  That despite what we claimed that Secretary Duncan had told him it wasn’t in danger at all if Ohio repealed it’s evidence based school funding model.  We called up the U.S. Department of Education to confirm it.  They denied Kasich’s version of the conversation and indicated that Ohio’s “Race to the Top” funding could be jeopardized if Ohio seriously departs from what it promised to do.

And now, we have a bill that I simply refuse to believe is being introduced without the Administration’s knowledge, input, and consent, that so radically departs Ohio’s educational policy you’d think the Republicans are begging the Obama Administration to strip Ohio of $400 million in education reform funding.

We produce a budget document showing Kasich giving his closest political aides massive raises compared to their counterparts in the Strickland Administration.  Kasich responds by saying “don’t believe everything you read” and then quietly releases during the Arizona national memorial service a budget document that confirmed precisely what we said.

How many times do we have to point out that Kasich is lying and be proven right before the media starts holding this man accountable?  Really.  Forget taking us seriously, when will the media stop ta\king his claims seriously?

  • Rgardner

    1. Gardner’s bill does not repeal the Evidence-Based Model funding formula. Money will be distributed under the bill as proposed by Strickland. No changes in distribution of funds.
    2. Stickland’s buget bill MANDATES all day kindergarten in 2011-12 whether or not schools have the money to comply. Period.
    3. Gardner’s bill will not cause one dime of the $400 million Race to the Top money to be lost. Zero.
    –Other than that, good reporting and analysis.

  • Anonymous

    1) The bill was billed in the media as fulfilling Kasich’s plan to scrap the evidence-based model… they then corrected and said SOME of the components of the formula would remain for the time being.
    2) If true, this can be corrected by legislative language that continues the waiver process the budget bill DID create in the last biannium that permitted districts to be waived if they lacked the money or physical space in which to comply.
    3) Says who? By altering many of the reforms enacted by Strickand, reforms that were components of Ohio’s Race to the Top application, it might be substantial enough of a depature to warrant the U.S. Department of Education to withdraw its award of Ohio’s Race to the Top as they’ve already indicated might be a possibility.

  • Anonymous

    I have to ask— given your sign-in name if you ARE Randy Gardner or any relation?

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