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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.

Teachers at Three Cleveland Charter Schools Ratify New Union Contract

Cleveland, OH —Teachers at three Cleveland charter schools in the ACCEL Schools chain ratified a new three year contract today. The contract limits class sizes to 30 students, reduces the number of instructional and non-instructional days in the school year, and guarantees wage increases. 

Ohio’s Biennial Budget Results in Missed Opportunities for Students and Communities

OFT President Melissa Cropper released the following statement on Ohio’s biennial operating budget, HB 166, that was signed by Governor DeWine today:

The budget that was signed today is marked by missed opportunities to fix our broken and unconstitutional school funding formula, to close reckless tax loopholes, and to end school takeovers that disenfranchise local communities.

Our members have been calling for increased funding for wraparound services in our public schools for years, and we appreciate that Governor DeWine and the legislature made that a priority in this year’s budget with $675 million in additional spending. However, our school districts still need a fair and equitable formula that allows them to know what their funding levels will be so they can make the investments needed in their districts. We look forward to the continuing work that Representatives Cupp and Patterson are doing to fund our future with a new school funding formula.

OFT President Melissa Cropper: Legislature Should Stop Using Budget to Pass Policy

“The policies that shape education for Ohio’s children are too important to be rushed through as add-ons to the state budget, especially when there is so little support for those policies that they have been unable to advance out of committee, as is the case with the Senate’s expansion of EdChoice vouchers,” said Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper.

Ohio Federation of Teachers Responds to House Budget Bill

"The budget that was passed today by the state house begins to move us in the right direction with the largest increase in funding for Ohio’s traditional K-12 public schools in more than a decade, a $675 million investment, and with additional funding for foster care and higher education."