OFT President Cropper: Budget Cuts to Education, Healthcare will Harm Ohio’s COVID-19 Recovery

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 5, 2020
Contact: Neil Bhaerman, Communications Director, Ohio Federation of Teachers
(412)266-4899; nbhaerman@oft-aft.org
 
OFT President Cropper: Budget Cuts to Education, Healthcare will Harm Ohio’s COVID-19 Recovery
 
OFT President Melissa Cropper released the following statement in response to budget cuts announced today by the DeWine Administration:
 
“We are still learning the full details of Governor DeWine’s budget cuts, particularly to what extent federal emergency funding will be able to replace some of these funds. However, we are concerned that out of $775 million in total cuts for Ohio’s budget over the next two months, $465 million is being cut from K-12 education and higher education, and $210 million is being cut from Medicaid. 
 
Our K-12 schools need more resources, more technology, and more staff to meet our students’ growing emotional, physical, and academic needs. Our institutions of higher education, particularly Ohio’s Community and Technical Colleges, are especially important during times of disruption and recession and they need increased resources to meet the challenges of this pandemic and continue preparing Ohioans for careers in essential industries. OFT has recently called for targeted federal support to these colleges. 
 
At a time when districts have already had their foundation formula frozen for this biennium, it is outrageous to consider cuts to traditional public schools in Ohio, which serve 90% of the state’s students, while refusing to rein in the hundreds of millions of dollars in public spending, including deductions from local school budgets, that is diverted to unaccountable private schools through the state’s EdChoice voucher funding. 
 
We shouldn’t have to say this: a global pandemic is not the right time to reduce funding for healthcare for people who need it most. We should be increasing our investment in healthcare  to help us weather this pandemic and put us in a better position to respond to health threats in the future.  
 
We are calling on Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, and Ohio’s entire congressional delegation, to help secure the emergency federal support that Ohio needs to help us prevent any cuts to education, healthcare, and other services that are necessary for a strong and healthy Ohio.
 
As the state will soon begin planning next year’s budget, we also call upon the legislature to work collaboratively to make children and families a priority by finding ways to increase revenue in order to avoid making more drastic cuts that will be devastating to children, families and communities.”
 
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The Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) is comprised of more than 50 local unions representing 20,000 members who are active and retired public school teachers, charter school teachers, school support staff, higher education faculty and staff, and public employees. OFT works to advance quality education and a voice in the workplace for Ohio’s education professionals. OFT is affiliated with the 1.7 member American Federation of Teachers.