Taking responsibility for school funding- locally

Since the State of Ohio refuses to address the constitutionality of school funding- and our local schools are being forced to suffer because of it- maybe it’s time for the “Leaders” at the County level to step up.

Dan Foley, Judy Dodge, Debbie Lieberman- this is for you:

Make a County wide school levy. One levy- every district, then, allocate funds based on need.  Eliminate all local school boards, consolidate all admin functions in the “Palace” on Ludlow. One Superintendent, One System.

With the savings from cutting out XX number of different administrators- we can focus on two things- teachers in classrooms- and making the Dayton Promise come alive- every graduate would get a 2 year degree from Sinclair if wanted.

We can’t keep doing what were doing and expect it to be different.

There is only one thing that makes education happen- and it ain’t bureaucracy- it’s teachers in classrooms. Let’s make a wholesale effort at maximizing that ratio- and minimizing overhead- and the pain of pursuing all these levies.

Get over the power battles- get over the importance of “self-rule”- all that counts is smarter kids.

Jesse Jackson had it right- do we want first class jails- or first class schools. The two are directly related.  Let’s get our priorities straight.

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14 Responses

  1. Bruce Kettelle May 30, 2007 / 12:59 pm
    I have long been a proponent of countywide school districts after wttnessing them first hand in Maryland and South Carolina. There are other states also operating this way. The difficulty I’ve run into with elected officials is the Ohio “Home Rule” mentality. With more small town and township representives in the statehouse than those form urbanized areas, it will be difficult to get a vote in support of this.

    You can save money on redundant and overlapping services like payroll, accounts payable, personell, transportation and multiple school boards. You don’t necessarily dispose of 17 superintendents as there are in Montgomery county. You still need a geographically layered administrative approach to each area within the larger system.

    Each high school continues to serve their respective communities and provide individual sports teams.

    The biggest benefit is the level tax playing field that doesn’t make it more or less expensive to live in one part of the county or another and actually answers the Ohio Supreme Court’s school funding mandate whcich has yet to be met after 9 years.

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  2. Teri Lussier May 30, 2007 / 1:10 pm
    How can this still be an issue? It’s beyond me why no politician will step up and be the hero and take this on. Surely there is someone in Columbus (or locally) who isn’t too scared to tackle this. Okayfine. Don’t tackle it. How ’bout we just start with a bitchslap.

    I disagree that “There is only one thing that makes education happen- and it ain’t bureaucracy- it’s teachers in classrooms.” I would argue that it’s parents that ultimately make education happen. Not only with our pressure on politicians and educators and district admin, but on the home front, education minded parents can overcome bad teaching and rotten beauracracy, but great teaching rarely overcomes bad parenting.

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  3. Greg Hunter May 30, 2007 / 1:47 pm
    HA! The very thought of Oakwood or Centerville sharing revenues is preposterous! The reason we have these divisions is too maintain the “good fence that makes good neighbors” policy. Yes Springboro is building schools while Dayton is closing them down. What Dayton should do is build dorms at the Wright Bros. Airport and move all of the families to subsidized housing at the airport and then quit claim deed it to Centerville and Springboro. They could walk to Dorothy Lane Market, Dayton Christian schools – It would be idyllic.

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  4. Dad May 30, 2007 / 4:43 pm

    I think you have to change the state constitution to do this. It certainly isn’t something the county can do.

    When we lived in Mercer County, there was a school district that had only seven students in the senior class of its high school, but the people of Mendon wanted to have a basketball team, so it stayed that way until Mendon was finally absorbed into Celina.

    Dad

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  5. Bruce Kettelle May 30, 2007 / 8:35 pm
    Dad,

    School district can amend boundaries if all the affected districts agree and the state school board approves. This is plain as day in the ORC. The legislature can legislate to change the ORC to amend district boundaries to match county boundaries, county officials cannot do that.

    Your son is right though, getting county officials involved can help to develop popular appeal for the idea and help to persuade the legislature.

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  6. Jeff May 30, 2007 / 9:15 pm
    The two largest citys of Kentucky, Lexington and Louisville, both have countywide districts. And this happened before city-county merger,too.

    But this will never ever EVER happen in Dayton or Montgomery COunty, not willingly. Any politician who proposes this or makes this their issue will have comitted political suicide.

    I;m reading a book on the desegregation of Dayton schools, and the metropolitanizing of the school systems, for integration purposes, was proposed at that time, but was vehemently opposed by the suburbs. To do this again would just reopone the city/suburb war that has sort of died down here.

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  7. Bruce Kettelle May 30, 2007 / 9:47 pm
    http://www.springfieldnewssun.com/o/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/education/entries/2007/03/18/consolidation_s.html

    Just to be fair, this link to a DDN/SNS editorial provides some arguments that there is not much cost savings from consolidating districts. I don’t agree with the article’s lack of concentration on other beneficial factors. Real benefits have been measured in the overall quality of the education to the larger region and it tends to sort out artificially imposed racial divides and of course provides funding equity.

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  8. David Esrati May 30, 2007 / 9:56 pm

    I’m not so interested in the consolidation of districts- as the consolidation of tax base and fair distribution.
    I’d almost like to see a sales tax like what we use for RTA as part of the school funding option-
    however- we have to look for ways to cut bureaucracy and gain efficiency- like purchasing laptops for the whole district- every student- and eliminating text books- paper- etc.
    It’s meant to start discussion- not to be the answer-
    the question is: do our leaders have the guts to step up?

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  9. gene May 30, 2007 / 11:09 pm
    It would help DPS, but the ‘burbs would go nuts. What standards are in place for achivement – schools like Oakwood would want a high bar set, and DPS would not keep up. It seems that the attached article is talking in regards to schools who have a bit more in common – mostly rural schools – where in Mont Co. you would have it all, rich, poor, middleclass, workin’ folk, urban, rural, suburban. How does this help Oakwood or Centerville? To be honest, Oakwood would just turn itself into a private school, let the 10-15% of the people who cant afford it go to Belmont or Fairmont (making bussing even more expensive) or move out of the city – then what do you have? I would love to see a tax that would help DPS and be funded by suburbs, but the reality is that you cant make chicken salad out of chicken shit (or you can, it just doesnt taste that good) Money is a huge problem – but leadership, parenting, work ethic, and creativity can solve most of the problems, but the people in DAYTON, from rich to poor, Dont want to lead, are mostly poor parents who are from single parent households who cant make ends meet, dont want to hold accountable their own children so they have poor work habits and destroy any creativity with lack of passion for their own kids and their fellow citizens kids. Face it, people in Dayton dont care, and want money to fix a problem that could be fixed with a change of attitude and a little elbow grease. Why do you think most sensible people move to the suburbs?

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  10. John Ise May 31, 2007 / 10:22 am
    Good post. But why stop at a consolidated school district? Why not as part of a consolidated countywide municipal government that maintains some minimal level of power for current municpalities? How much more can the region take before people realize that turf battles between municipal “kingdoms” doesn’t matter if your all part of a sinking ship.

    It’d be nice if local decisionmakers (City and County Commissioners) who aledgedly read but never comment on this blog.

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  11. David Esrati May 31, 2007 / 10:24 am

    Baby steps John.
    Start with school funding- then move to the tough stuff like a single roads department, a single dispatch center- etc.
    And- you are assuming those commissioners are capable of typing?

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  12. Bruce Kettelle May 31, 2007 / 3:46 pm
    http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/05-31-2007/0004599264&EDATE=

    And then there is this statewide school funding survey result released May 31.

    “A large majority of the public favors distributing public education dollars based on a system that gives more money to districts that have larger numbers of students with special needs, learning disabilities or language barriers, or students whose families are in poverty. Nearly 66% said they favored that approach, compared to 29% who opposed.”

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  13. Jeff May 31, 2007 / 6:41 pm
    ^
    gosh, I don’t think baby steps is starting with school funding. I can imagine what suburbanites would say if you wanted to tax them, and then distribute the money to Dayton. I think the baby steps are things like joint infrasatructure and that dispatch center.

    Yet there is the precedent of the Human Services Levy, showing people will tax themselves for things that are considerd to be “helping out”. However those services are countyiwide…a school countywide school tax that would be percieved or spun as a Dayton bail-out would be another matter.

    In any case, Dayton schools are Dayton’s problem so let Dayton fund them or not, whatever the case may be.

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  14. Greg Hunter June 1, 2007 / 9:29 am
    In any case, Dayton schools are Dayton’s problem so let Dayton fund them or not, whatever the case may be.

    If it were only so easy as Iraq is not our problem but we are funding that little war, so how can the case be made that a place in our backyard should not be evaluated on the current and historical merits as well as funded? The sheeple have no concept of how they have been fleeced and that the destruction of inner city schools is more about the destruction of an urban jobs program than an attack on the school system. Husted is doing the bidding of the underlying social belief that the DPS and those systems in the inner city need to be broken and the charter system is the gatling gun of the operation. The callousness of the Husteds in the world are winning the battle over the enablers of the underclass. Husted would classify it as tough love and my mother justify the life support system because the patient is still alive and could change for the better at any day.

    I understand Husted and those that support this tactic as I have seen the DPS in action or inaction. The whole process of the destruction of the school system is justified in their eyes due to simple economics and the failure of the African American Community to embrace new leadership. When the community continues to play the race card and rely on preachers for leaders, no wonder they play into the hands of the Husted the overseer.

    Husted and his ilk did not have to play this kind of game, but the history of race relations and sprawl in Dayton is culminating in this final dance of death for Dayton. It saddens me to see that the white race would rather shoot itself in the face, by sprawling away from the race issue, than deal directly with problems that face this community collectively. This type of justification of the destruction of a school system in our own community over race, bigotry and greed; provides little hope that the US will work out a positive response to all of the issues facing us by the rise of different religions and ideas to power.

    Dayton has always been used as a test market for the sale of US goods and the market data indicates that the policies we have chosen in our own community and on the world stage are doomed to fail.

    Whose problem is it again? Anyone……

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