By now, we all know – or should know – that Gov. Kasich has endorsed a new tax! Yep. The four-year, 15 mill Cleveland school district levy on the November ballot. And the tax-hating guv did it despite adding his signature to madman anti-tax lobbyist Grover Norquist’s no-tax pledge. If ever there were a case of the blind leading the blind!

But Kasich’s remarkable about-face is not without history.

Back in June, he signed the law granting Cleveland wide berth in school reforms – the so-called Cleveland Plan for Transforming Schools. Of course, dramatic and substantive change is needed to salvage a devastated system. Its annual cost to the homeowner has been projected at $294 for a $64,000 home. But there’s hardship all around. The Ohio Department of Education’s 2011-12 report card put the Cleveland district at the very bottom of the list as an “academic emergency”.

Unless you close your doors forever, it can’t get worse than that.

At the time of the law’s passage by the General Assembly, Kasich backed away from a full-throated endorsement of the tax. The distance between supporting the law but advancing a biennial budget with deep cuts in public education funding drew moans from critics. Which governor were the schools dealing with on school financing?

Among the cheerleaders, however, was Mayor Frank Jackson, shown lately in a tight embrace of the governor. Jackson is touching all of the bases to find school money.

Plain Dealer columnist Brent Larkin, who has labored for years through the travails of the Cleveland system, wrote that there were three possible outcomes from the levy vote – and two are bad. If the measure passes, he said, “the benefits to Cleveland and the entire region would prove immeasurable.” But if there is no improvement from passage, it would be time “blow up” the system and start in a years-long new direction. Finally, Larkin observed that one could not measure the damage to the city’s reputation if the ballot issue failed.

Meantime, Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols, arrived with his customary fire hose whenever doubts are raised about his boss’ behavior. He went into a damage control mode for the questions raised about Kasich’s ad hoc fondness for taxes. In this instance, he said, the issue was not about wasteful government spending but would be well-spent on the same schools who got less money from the state budget. He added that there could be no doubt about Kasich’s concern for schools because if he lived in Cleveland he would vote for the levy.

But Kasich doesn’t live in Cleveland and that was the problem when he signed the biennial budget as well as that awful pledge from Grover Norquist.

  • You seriously need to go back and proof read this.

  • DMoore

    “this was not about wasteful government spending.” Really? Any money given to that system is money wasted. It has proven this over and over again in the past 40 years. The system needs to be broken up into several smaller districts. Putting in a new administration and another “reform” initiative every two years is foolishness. Kasich only supports this for re-election votes so the use of tax money is no more than a re-election camaign expenditure.

  • Cowtown Girl

    I agree with David Corey. As with all of your posts, you seriously need to proof read and do a spelling and grammar check before you post. In the third paragraph, I believe the word you are looking for is “berth.”
    That being said, am I correct in understanding that the Ohio General Assembly passed a law and Gov. Kasich signed a law that imposes a tax on property owners in Cleveland School District? Is that even allowable under the Ohio Revised Code and Ohio Constitution? I thought school levies could only be initiated and passed by the local school board and voted on only by the impacted property owners.

  • The “Cleveland Plan” legislation did not provide any funding for Cleveland nor did it impose any taxes. It did allow Cleveland to make a number of changes Frank Jackson was asking for (e.g. SB5-like Merit Pay ) but it left Jackson and the schools to figure out how to fund it themselves.

  • Ohioan

    So Kasich gives corporations nearly $100M in state tax money and rebates in order to “retain jobs”, then the corporation outsources scores of jobs to India, then the corporation is on the way to be taken private, and then my property taxes have to go up because the state has no money for the kids’ educations. But they have $100M+ to give to corporations that threaten to move unless the state ponies up. So I lose my job to outsourcing, my taxes go up to pay for schools, and the corp that sent my perfectly good Ohio job to a foreign nation to exploit cheap labor wages where most people earn less than $2 a day, and they get tens of millions of dollars. I guess i’ll pay the additional taxes that Kasich endorsed with my puny unemployment check? Or hope to get one of the “good” job that Kasich said he’s bringing, call center jobs from an outsourcing company thats bringing these jobs back now that Americans are forced to accept half pay and no vacation. So “good jobs” huh? I had a good job!

  • metalhed

    That Kasich is a liar is not news. But I can’t wait until he faces the “Wrath of Neo-Con.”

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