The issue of school consolidation came up in the final weeks of the campaign as Kasich as the Strickland campaign raised the issue in rural and suburban districts.   Kasich was, reportedly, incensed at the notion that he supported school district consolidation, not because the allegation was untrue, but because Kasich’s campaign knew that the idea was politically unpopular in rural and suburban areas that were key to Kasich’s victory.

So John Kasich threw a hissy.  In fact, in order to try to bury any notion that Kasich was tied to school consolidation policies, Kasich continued to throw a hissy even after the election.  Remember how Kasich demanded that the teachers’ unions take out a full-page apology ad for the “vicious smears" they told about him during the campaign?  Well, that was mostly to do with the allegation that Kasich supported eliminating school districts through consolidation.

Here’s what the Plain Dealer reported Kasich’s response to allegations he supported school consolidation was before the election:

Kasich has denied that he told a group of education leaders in September that, if elected, he would pare down Ohio’s 613 public school districts by one-third, to about 400.

"John has never talked about consolidating schools. John has talked about sharing services," Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols told the Toledo Blade on Wednesday.

Kasich, at a campaign stop later that day, noted it was Halloween season and accused the Strickland campaign of making things up to "scare people."

The campaign repeated on Friday that Kasich never made such a claim.

Except one problem.  Four individuals produced by the Strickland campaign said that in September, Kasich addressed them at a meeting of the Ohio Association of School Business Officials and said:

"Congressman Kasich said he favored school consolidation as a way to reduce state spending," the statement reads. "Congressman Kasich’s claim that he does not support consolidation, just shared services, directly contradicts what we heard him say during the September meeting."

The statement was signed by Chris Mohr and Dolores Cramer, both past presidents of the OASBO, Cathy Johnson, South-Western City Schools board member, and Sharon Manson, Waverly City Schools board member.

The school officials said Kasich told them he was basing his plans on a Brookings Institution report that suggested consolidation as a means to trim costs.

But for the most part, the media dropped the story under the glaring heat of the election.  It ended as a Kasich denies he supports consolidation even though four people who don’t seem to have an ax to grind claim he flat out told them otherwise.  Interestingly enough, nobody else from that meeting was ever produced by the Kasich campaign to dispute the four members’ allegation, only Kasich denied it personally.  But it pretty much ended as a he said/they said controversy.

Why am I bringing this up?  Because during Kasich’s budget roll out to the media last week, the Akron Beach Journal reported the Governor made this comment in discussing his education funding plan in his budget:

”Do we really need six school districts in Hancock County?”

Kasich said he can only ”take so much on,” but he would like to have Democrats and Republicans do an analysis of local governments and possibly form a ”base-closing” type of commission. (emphasis added.)

Then yesterday, the Dispatch reported that Kasich’s education czar, Robert Sommers, testified to the House Finance Committee:

Sommers suggested that in a "blended learning environment" class sizes could go to a 50-to-1 ratio. "We have schools, both in the urban centers and in other settings, that have found how to get high-performance results, treat staff very well and do it for less than what we currently do."

50:1 student-to-teacher ratios!  We should “thinking in terms of the creativity we already have in place across the country,” Sommers says.  Then Kasich talks about there being too many school districts in Hancock County and how we need to have a “base closure” type commission on local governmental units, like, I dunno, school districts, perhaps?

Kasich Lied Again before the campaign:

“John has never talked about consolidating schools.”

After the campaign:

“Do we really need six school districts in Hancock County?”- Gov. Kasich

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  • Anonymous

    Governor Johnny Cakes, (so named for the BE give-away), the hole your digging is getting deeper. One and done for Johnny.

  • Anonymous

    Governor Johnny Cakes, (so named for the BE give-away), the hole your digging is getting deeper. One and done for Johnny.

  • Anonymous

    Jesus Christ, Johnny. I’m a PTO mom, not a goddamn industrial bakery.

  • Anonymous

    Well, if Kasich wants to nuke the Ohio Republican Party, he’s off to a flying start. Force consolidation on Hancock County from the Outside, eh? That sounds like it might be unpopular. But I can’t feel too bad since Hancock County gave over 15,000 votes to Kasich and only about 8,500 to Strickland. Hate to say this but — reap what you sow, guys. Maybe you’ll engage your brains next time before voting for a slimy, lying Republican?

  • Sgt. Friday

    Uh…John, there are 8 school districts in Hancock County, Arcadia, Arlington, Cory-Rawson, Findlay, Liberty Benton, McComb, Van Buren and Vanlue.

  • leeseh

    I was going to say that I can’t wait to hear the shrieks of Lima area parents if they are told they will possibly have to consolidate or possibly send their children to Lima City Schools. Hancock County probably won’t be thrilled either. However, I bet they still support Kasich if he runs again.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sure that parents are going to love having school districts consolidate and then having their children in classes of fifty. When test scores drop, qualified, licensed teachers will get fired (because of SB 5) and then Kasich can bring in his totally unqualified Teach for America people who have had two weeks of “teacher training.” This sounds like a recipe for disaster but what else can you expect from someone who worked at the now bankrupt Lehman Brothers?

  • Anonymous

    That’s funny right there, I don’t care who you are.

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    I hope everyone will withdraw their kids from schools and enroll them in that Christian school his girls go to….rooms be so crowded they have to sit in the hallways …
    hey wait .. then he an come in and lecture for just a mere $50,000 and bring a buddy they get $20,000 …stay after and get punch and cookies
    I hope the TFA people get all their training time — they will need it to figure out his class plans .. oh the lecture subject –“How not to be a state employee”

  • More to the point, this will drive people in droves to charter schools. One of their biggest advertising bulletin points is usually their small class ratios.. 15:1, 18:1, etc

  • Anonymous

    “Blended learning”? Class size ratios 50:1? Yes, that will produce a well-educated workforce to supply all those engineers and scientists to all that new business that Kasich will be attracting. Did John totally miss the 70’s??? Ask any educator back then to weigh in on how well those new-fangled blended schools without classroom walls worked out. Noisy. Distracting. No ability to provide personalized instruction because everyone was working at a different level. Teachers pulled every which way to Sunday, pulling their hair out by day’s end. Every school that I knew that built these school environments ended up reducing class sizes and building walls before the decade was out. I only see one result to this travesty of a policy: public schools will finally be performing on the same dismal level as his beloved charter schools. Fast forward forty years, and now we will be sitting students in front of videos, being assisted by non-certified teachers, and still having no ability for individualized instruction by qualified staff. Teacher? I sorry, even if you did get the nerve to ask for my help, I am too busy teaching one of my other FORTY-NINE STUDENTS to help you. Oh, and Governor? What company owns this curriculum and what is that going to cost us. Not just in public dollars, but in children lost in the crowd? P.S. Olentangy Schools- under the cuts to local education, you will will be seeing state funding cut by 48 percent. Many of you (including teachers to students in class- yes , I mean you track coach Pre-Calculus teacher) publicly and without reserve BITCHED about losing 1 million dollars in school funding last biennium, and voted for the local boy Kasich. Well, let me say, for the first time EVER I am seriously considering voting “no” on a school levy. I resent having to pay more because of your failure to see the obvious result. Rant cloncluded.

  • Anonymous

    I was thinking more along the lines of “Governor Johnny-Let-Them-Eat-Cakes”.

  • Anonymous

    Hancock county got a preview of this because Arcadia and Vanlue have been talking about consolidating. Arcadia parents against it unless combined high school is in Arcadia.

    One thing that might wake up the GOP sheep in the Hancock county might be the loss of control of their school district.

  • Gronpc

    Ted Strickland? You mean the guy that did nothing and sat on his hands for four years? OH!!!!!! THAT Ted Strickland.

  • Anonymous

    No, I mean the Ted Strickland that was Governor of Ohio for four years, ushered in two of the most fiscally conservative budgets in Ohio history, reformed our energy policy in order to avoid a massive job-killing utility rake hike, kept tuition frozen for half his term and under the smallest level of growth for the remainder as the rest of the nation saw double-digit increases, the Ted Strickland who took Ohio from the back of the pack to the front of the nation on next-gen energy production, and the guy who positioned Ohio for one of the faster, most robust recoveries from the recession of just about any State in the nation.

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