The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

January 31, 2013

Kasich says plan helps poor school districts

(Continued)

COLUMBUS —

The plan also calls for increased funding help for educating disabled students and students who are learning to speak English, while also providing funds to support gifted and talented students and high school students who take college courses.

It also includes steps to increase transparency on school efficiency and performance, and to encourage districts to learn from the successes of comparable districts.

Kasich told school administrators that while he knew many were worried about cuts, the state’s financial stewardship allows more funding which he said his administration wants to be sure benefits students directly.

“We want to get those dollars into the classroom,” Kasich said.

The governor planned an online town hall at 6 p.m. allowing members of the public to submit questions. School funding decisions for Ohio’s 613 school districts and 353 charter schools are likely to affect many tax bills, home values and the quality of the education children receive.

The long-awaited plan is expected to kick off months of debate over Ohio’s educational direction.

Kasich said his plan would “strip all the politics” out of the funding issue, but there was criticism from some Democrats and teacher union officials that Kasich hadn’t involved them in development of his plan.

“I have a fundamental problem with the governor’s approach; that is, the lack of bipartisanship,” said state Sen. Eric Kearney of Cincinnati, leader of Senate Democrats. He said he was “a little bit amazed” that Kasich hadn’t reached out to Democrats for their thoughts. He also said Kasich’s plan had little detail, didn’t let people know impacts on their specific school districts, and that what appears to be a major expansion of vouchers was worrisome.

A key legislator in the Republican-controlled Ohio Senate said she was encouraged by the governor’s sweeping plan.

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