OEA Views State Budget as Mixed Bag

The Ohio Education Association (OEA) said today, July 17, 2019, that while it welcomes the progress made by state lawmakers on some fronts in the state budget, it is disappointed that more could not be achieved on important issues, notably the repeal of the failed state takeover of troubled school districts which was overwhelmingly supported by the House in its adoption of HB 154.

OEA President Scott DiMauro noted that a moratorium on new Academic Distress Commissions in the budget deal is a tacit admission of what educators, parents, students and an increasing number of legislators know to be true — that state takeovers don’t serve the interests of the students they were intended to help.

“Disappointed that more could not be achieved on important issues, notably the repeal of the failed state takeover of troubled school district….” — OEA President Scott DiMauro

Sadly, the legislature leaves the communities of Youngstown, Lorain and East Cleveland languishing under a failing law until they can figure out how to give districts struggling with high levels of poverty the support they need,” said DiMauro. “As we continue the fight to enact HB 154 to repeal state takeovers and restore local control, I am deeply disappointed in the decision to allow CEOs to continue wreaking havoc on our schools.”

On the plus side, OEA said it is pleased to see the expansion of school breakfast programs in high-poverty districts and welcomes the significant new funding for wrap-around services in those districts that help students get ready to learn.

OEA also applauds lawmakers for taking a small but important step toward fixing Ohio’s misleading report card system by adjusting the value-added grading scale to give school districts more credit for the progress they have made with students.

OEA is encouraged by requirements that charter e-schools disclose more information about their operations. However, OEA is disappointed with budget provisions that dial-back on accountability for charter sponsors and drop-out prevention charter schools.

In addition, OEA also believes strongly that the expansion of voucher programs in the budget is unnecessary. “Ohio has no shortage of vouchers to pay private school tuition on the taxpayer’s dime,” said OEA President Scott DiMauro. “It is time to end the unnecessary and costly expansion of vouchers and focus on meeting the needs of all students in Ohio’s public schools.”

Lastly, OEA is troubled by the elimination of the requirement that teachers meet specific licensure requirements to teach in core subject areas and grades. “This removes an important protection for students and undermines the profession,” said DiMauro. “OEA is committed to serving students with highly-prepared educators.”