Thursday, June 27, 2013

2013 Education Budget Bottom Line

There's going to be a lot said about how public education fared in the 2013 state budget. However, I think it's important to put this budget in context. Once you do, this is the bottom line:
  • School districts will receive $515 million fewer in this budget than they got in the 2009 biennial budget
  • 3 of 4 districts will get less money than they got in the 2009 budget, with Cleveland losing $81 million and Cincinnati $15 million
  • Once you remove Career Tech and Transportation funding from this budget, 1 in 4 districts will get less non-Career Tech and Transportation funding than they got in FY13
  • Those numbers do not include additional lost revenue to failing Charter Schools and Private Schools coming from a huge bump in funding for them
  • This budget includes the smallest commitment to overcoming poverty in education since the 2005-2006 school year, yet the state is now dictating how that historically low amount can be spent
  • In the 2010-2011 school year, the proportion of state to local funding for education reached 50-50 for the first time in at least three decades. The first year of Kasich's first budget saw that drop back down to 47% state, 53% local
  • Charter operators that have given about $1 million to politicians get 38% of the Charter School increase, even though they only run about 9% of the state's Charter Schools.
The budget started out -- as introduced by Gov. John Kasich -- as an overall disaster, got a little better, but still was insufficient to make up for the dramatic cuts contained in Kasich's previous budget.

And to add insult to injury, the state will no longer subsidize property tax cuts, which means this budget could represent the largest property tax increase in state history.

I will leave you with the words of the Ohio Supreme Court as you consider this budget:
“. . . until a complete systematic overhaul of the system is accomplished, it will continue to be far from thorough and efficient and will continue to shortchange our students. The overreliance on local property taxes is the fatal flaw that until rectified will stand in the way of constitutional compliance.” -- Justice Alice Robie Resnick

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

OH Charters Get Worse Under Kasich

In 2009, Stanford's CREDO report showed that Ohio's Charter Schools were not doing well, but did do well on some measures. Four years later, they're doing worse. Ohio is one of only 4 states to have seen their schools do worse now than four years ago.

According to the report, Ohio Charter School students lose the equivalent of 14 days of learning in Reading and 43 days of learning in Math. That's 3 weeks in Reading and nearly a full marking period of Math.

That's much worse than we could have imagined. It is time to have a serious discussion about Charter School quality in this state.

Monday, June 24, 2013

OH Republican Mega Donors Get Lion's Share of Charter Money

As we reported today at Innovation Ohio, one of the real concerns with the current state budget, which is working its way through a joint House-Senate Conference Committee is this: Republican mega-donors David Brennan (White Hat Management) and William Lager (ECOT) saw major increases in their funding. Meanwhile, Charter Schools that actually do a far better job educating children received far less additional revenue.

To give you an idea of just how much better Brennan and Lager's schools do, take a look at this statistic: Brennan and Lager run 33 of the state's 369 Charter Schools, or 9 percent. Yet according to the Ohio Senate's Charter School simulations, Brennan and Lager's schools will receive $8.6 million additional over last school year. That represents 38 percent of all the increases to the rest of the 336 Charter Schools. So 38 percent of the increase to Charters went to 9 percent of the schools.

Looking at it another way, Brennan and Lager's schools take so much money away from the state's other Charter Schools that their average increase gets cut 32 percent.

Brennan and Lager are the top individual contributors to the Republican leadership in the House and Senate  (or close to it) . And they're no slouches when it comes to Gov. John Kasich either. They've given nearly $1 million to politicians since 2008.

Is it just a coincidence that they receive the lion's share of the benefit in the area of the budget that most interests them?

I think not.