Wednesday was a big day for Patrick Colucci.
The Ashtabula Area City Schools superintendent traveled to Columbus to speak to the Ohio House Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee as part of CORAS, the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools. It’s a group of about 100 educators concerned about aspects of the school funding proposal that could lead to schools losing millions of dollars.
“We are not getting additional money; we are flat funded and from what I understand, that in two years, flat funding (from the state) will be cut even further,” Colucci said.
Colucci said Ashtabula schools are operating in an area with a high rate of poverty (31 percent, compared to the state 14.8 percent), and the district has not received any new operating money in 13 years. He said the district has eliminated 171 positions in the past five years, 73 of which were teaching positions.
Colucci also told legislators despite the past four school levies failing, the school district has improved greatly since 2005. But, he does not believe it is possible to be required to implement many more initiatives from the state without receiving funding for it.
“We are expected to put these mandates in place, yet no money from the state,” he said. “We have a 6.2 mill, five-year emergency operating levy on the May ballot and if it fails, we’ll have to make another $1 million in cuts.”
Rep. Matt Lundy, D-Elyria, asked Colucci what kind of savings he has seen through the shared Ashtabula County Educational Service Center.
Colucci said they are seeing more than $14,000 a year in savings. He also partners with the county to provide academic coaches, he said.
Rep. Dan Ramos, D-Lorain, asked Colucci what kind of transportation problems he’s tackled after cutting busing in Ashtabula County, an area known for lots of snow.
“I told him we don’t have sidewalks going to either campus and that having students walk on snow banks, trying to avoid cars is very dangerous,” Colucci said. “I told him I will reinstate bussing if the levy passes (in May).”
Colucci said CORAS will continue to call on lawmakers to make changes in the basic aid amount for students, pay for transportation, career technical and special education programs and to pay for new initiatives like the third-grade reading guarantee.
A former educator, Rep. John Patterson, D-Jefferson, said he is “fighting for our schools.”
Mary Zappitelli, superintendent of Geneva Area City Schools, sent Colucci a thank you note Thursday for “going to Columbus and for helping our county to be heard.”
Wednesday was a big day for Patrick Colucci.
- Local News
Ashtabula fences off school ruins with hopes of cleaning up site
Eight months after a fire destroyed a vacant elementary school on West Avenue, the city’s top officials have had it fenced it off.
Man drives truck into Rare Cherry
A Jefferson man could face felony charges after he reportedly drove a truck into an Ashtabula Township business in an attempt to strike an employee with the vehicle.
Conneaut trash changes ready for action
After many months of debate, and several weeks in legislative limbo, a makeover of Conneaut’s trash-hauling regulations could get City Council approval at next week’s regular meeting.
Ashtabula County home to provide space for Adult Protective Services referrals
The Ashtabula County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center will provide temporary institutionalization for clients referred by the county’s Adult Protective Services Unit.
Contractor could pave Conneaut’s streets this year
Sections of several Conneaut streets will see asphalt this year, but city workers may not be doing all the work, according to a plan administrators laid out at Monday’s City Council work session.
Ashtabula planning Walnut Beach clean-up and Tire Amnesty Day
Volunteers are needed to clean Walnut Beach on Saturday, in preparation for the warmer weather.
Woman faces drug charges after house raided Friday
A 35-year-old woman faces felony drug charges today after an early morning raid on her home Friday by area law enforcement.
Fairboard Auxiliary busy with baskets and beautification contest
The “Harvest Basket” is the official collector’s basket for the 2014 Ashtabula County Fair, fair officials said Monday.
ACTA hears update on county land bank
Progress on the Ashtabula County Land Re-utilization Corp., or land bank, was the topic of Thursday’s Ashtabula County Township Associa-tion meeting at the Ashtabula County Engineer’s office.
'Pay It Back' will help local veterans
Ashtabula County's "Pay It Back" campaign that assists military veterans in need returns this year with a special plea for assistance, according to Shirley Corlett, coordinator.
- More Local News Headlines
- Ashtabula fences off school ruins with hopes of cleaning up site