Ohio Representative Andrew Brenner has been seeking co-sponsors to introduce a resolution declaring the last week in January as “National School Choice Week”. This is an interesting move for Brenner who represents a constituency that includes the Olentangy Local School District, the 7th largest and one of the highest-performing public school districts in the entire state of Ohio.
Olentangy, Brenner’s primary school district, lost over 32% of its state funding to community schools and scholarships when fewer than 1% of the district’s resident population opted to take advantage of “School Choice”. Which begs the question — Who is Brenner [pictured at right] actually representing with this resolution — his own personal politics or the Delaware County residents who voted him in to office to represent their interests?
Brenner’s history, and the text of the letter he sent to all Ohio House members seeking their support for his resolution says it’s the latter. Here’s his letter:
I will be introducing a resolution to recognize the week of January 25th to January 31st as National School Choice Week. With education being essential to the economic and social advancement of Ohio and the nation, it is fitting to honor those who dedicate themselves to providing alternative education and the freedom of choice in America’s educational system. The support of the public charter school system stems from hardworking educators, staff, and the parents of children who wish to pursue a quality education. During National School Choice Week, we will be honoring these outstanding individuals who can take pride in their roles in the public charter schools within Ohio and the nation.
Rep. Andrew O. Brenner
Ohio’s 67th House District – Delaware County
77 S. High St.
Columbus, Oh 43215
Contact: Dan Talik
You might remember that about a year ago Brenner published an article titled, “Public education in America is socialism, what is the solution?” Apparently Brenner’s solution is Communism as he pontificated that “We need to do something that was done about 25 years ago in the former Soviet Union and eastern bloc: sell off the existing buildings, equipment and real estate to those in the private sector.”
Brenner, who has no children of his own, regularly seeks to offer “solutions” about what others should do with their own kids, promoting the concept of school choice every chance he gets, again despite the fact that the Olentangy School District is far from broken as an organization that has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade, opened numerous new school buildings, and has not skipped a beat as far as the academic performance of students. The “problem” that Olentangy has is that Brenner has yet to band together with Kasich and the GOP-majority to propose any form of meaningful school funding reform that would increase financial support to the district — a district that receives one of the lowest amounts of per-pupil funding from the state.
“School Choice” for the Brenner Family only goes so far, of course.
Brenner’s wife, Sara Marie Brenner, fought tooth and nail to keep an apartment complex out of Powell while on the Powell City Council in 2013. In an online response to a news article about Brenner in 2013, she stated,
“For example, while income tax revenue from several hundred apartments may appear to be attractive, the potential negative impact this could have on the area’s schools would mean an increased cost to the area’s residents. This is why I led the effort on council to make sure that the apartments would not come in to the city, and with a narrow vote on council we defeated that measure. We have to weigh the ramifications of everything we bring in to Powell, not just accept it “just because.”
God forbid we “soil” the area by “bringing in” apartment-dwellers and affording them access to the high-performing Olentangy Schools, right?
Why is Brenner, a young man with ZERO children, a Representative of Delaware County that has exactly ZERO charter schools within its boundaries, and the Representative for the extra-high-performing Olentangy Local [Public] School District trying so hard to make “School Choice” a centerpiece of his “legacy” in office?
Perhaps Brenner is among those who wants to benefit from the selling off all of the property that Olentangy’s taxpayers have spent the last 20+ years developing (with the vast majority coming from their local property tax dollars, NOT state money).
The residents of Olentangy certainly won’t benefit from selling off all of their public property to private school operators, none of whom can boast of the significant accomplishments of the school district that started well before Brenner showed up on the scene and will continue long after he’s gone.