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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."

Teachers, School Staff Ready to Complete School Year Through Distance Learning

OFT President Melissa Cropper released the following statement: "Distance learning, even when perfectly executed, is not a replacement for classroom instruction. However, this is the right call. It protects the health and safety not just for students, staff and teachers, but for everyone in Ohio. We must remain focused on flattening the curve and slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Ohio."

Senate Action on EdChoice Vouchers is a Freeze, Not a Fix

OFT President Melissa Cropper released the following statement:
 
“The Ohio Senate took action today to freeze building eligibility for EdChoice performance-based vouchers. Unfortunately, total voucher recipients will most likely increase, as new students entering kindergarten and high school in eligible buildings are still eligible for EdChoice vouchers, along with any siblings of current voucher recipients. 
 
This freeze on building eligibility is a temporary reprieve at best. It is certainly not a fix to the escalating problem we have in Ohio of diverting public funds to unaccountable private schools. School districts like Cleveland Heights-University Heights and other high poverty districts will continue to be disproportionately affected and will continue to suffer budget shortfalls."

OFT President Cropper: Now is Not the Time to Divert Public Funds to Private Schools

OFT President Melissa Cropper released the following statement:
 
“It is imperative that Governor DeWine and the Legislature act now to prevent a massive expansion to Ohio’s EdChoice vouchers. 
 
With the Governor calling for a freeze on spending and asking state departments to cut their budgets up to 20 percent, and with the uncertain fate of school district emergency levies that were on the primary ballot, now is not the time to commit to sending more public funds to unaccountable private schools.”

Future of Ohio Public Schools in Doubt During Public Schools Week

This week, February 24-28, is Public Schools Week, a national celebration of and recommitment to the public schools that serve nine out of ten children in Ohio and the U.S. In Ohio, Public Schools Week comes amid a time of uncertainty and apprehension for public school districts across Ohio due to the looming vouchers expansion deadline on April 1. Without decisive action from the legislation, public school districts across the state will suffer huge budget shortfalls from unfunded voucher deductions for students who had never enrolled or intended to enroll in their district.
 

State Legislature Delays Action on Harmful Voucher Deductions from School Districts

Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper released the following statement on today’s legislative action on private school vouchers:
 
“The Ohio legislature has delayed action on providing a remedy to the most harmful aspect of our private school voucher system, the unsustainable deductions from school district funds. We hope that legislators use this extra time to listen to educators, community school boards, and parents who have been urging, for years, that the legislature fulfill their constitutional duty to create a fair and equitable public school funding formula."

Teachers Union Gifts Free Books to Ohio Public School Classrooms and Students

Santa Claus received some help this holiday season, as the Ohio Federation of Teachers and First Book partnered to donate more than $50,000 for books and classroom supplies for students across the state. The funds, dispersed in small grants, are especially important for the many school districts and buildings that have underfunded or closed school libraries.

HB 164 May Infringe on the Academic Integrity of Our Public Schools

OFT President Melissa Cropper issued the following statement on HB 164, the Ohio Student Religious Liberties Act of 2019: “HB 164 is an unnecessary piece of legislation that has the potential to infringe on the academic integrity of our public schools. OFT opposes this legislation."

DeVos Tour Highlights Trump Administration’s Attacks on Public Schools

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Today, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos stopped in Cleveland to visit the public MC² STEM High School and EDWIN’s Leadership and Restaurant Institute as part of her Back to School tour. According to press materials from the Department of Education, the focus of DeVos’ tour is promoting her Education Freedom Scholarships proposal, which is another attempt by the Trump Administration to funnel public money into private religious and for-profit schools.