The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

March 14, 2013

Ashtabula Area City Schools superintendent to speak out for education at Ohio Statehouse

Star Beacon

— An area superintendent will push for big changes in school funding after gathering at the Ohio Statehouse Tuesday, where educators from low-income, rural shared their struggles with a state funding formula that they say punishes students.

Ashtabula Area City Schools Superintendent Patrick Colucci will testify next week in front of 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.

“There are school districts there just like Ashtabula ... and we are not getting any funding,” he said. “It’s just not fair.”

Colucci said the group is calling 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.

They also are speaking on the need to increase the arts. The group told lawmakers the two-year budget should fund advanced placement courses to prepare students for college, art and music, access  to   technology   and

other opportunities that are offered in more affluent districts.

“I am taking this effort seriously and I want to represent the students and staff of the Ashtabula Area City Schools regarding equity and adequacy of school funding,” Colucci said, noting he is working on what he will say when called to testify next week. “We need to fight the good fight and I want to go to the podium and tell our story.”

The two-year budget will determine funding levels for Ohio’s 1.8 million school children.