In the final months of the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, Governor Strickland’s campaign and his allies in education starting warning people in rural districts that a vote for John Kasich was a vote to consolidate your kids local school district out of existence.
And the Kasich campaign called it a totally untrue “smear” designed to scare voters:
“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.
[Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer (Oct. 30, 2010).]
The Kasich campaign denied it even though four members of the Ohio Association of School Business Officials said that Kasich specifically said that he supported consolidation in a meeting before them in September. Governor Kasich even personally denied that he supported school consolidation.
Remember how after the election, Kasich demanded that the teachers unions needed to take out a full-page ad apologizing for the “false smears” they spread about him during the election? It was over the unions’ “false” claim that Kasich supported school consolidation that lead him to make that demand:
Kasich said it was wrong for teacher unions to portray him during the campaign as in favor of school consolidation, though, drawing a distinction between consolidation and sharing services.
Kasich said he had not given consolidation sufficient thought to weigh in on the idea, but would explore it if it made sense. He added that teacher unions would have no access to him until they took out advertisements in the state’s major newspapers to apologize for their criticisms during the campaign.
But as we discussed in March during Kasich’s budget rollout, the Governor again began using language that suggested he was dishonest during the campaign about his position on school district consolidation.
”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.)
[Source: Akron Beacon Journal, (March 16, 2011).
Again the Kasich Administration suggested that the Governor’s own comments was geared solely to local governments, and not local schools. The Governor only supports school districts sharing services, not actual consolidation, they urged.
Which brings me to today’s headline in the Cincinnati Enquirer:
He has asked the Legislature to create a commission exploring school consolidation, the first Ohio governor in decades to even broach the idea.
In states where there have been consolidations, and in academic studies looking at such proposals, results are a mixed bag.
I know we’ve covered the “John Kasich lied” so much that it seems almost cliché, but that’s only because this has already been one of the most outright dishonest Administration we’ve ever seen in Ohio. And what’s even more pathetic is that the Enquirer failed to mention at all how Kasich and his closest aides adamantly denied that he supported school consolidation.
Will Governor Kasich take out a full page newspaper ad apologizing to teacher unions for falsely accusing them of lying now?