Education will surely be key to Ohio#039;s future

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 6, 2005

It may sound over-simplified or even cliche, but education will be vital to the rebuilding of all of Ohio, as well as the continued growth of Lawrence County.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out. But, apparently Gov. Bob Taft was out of town the day the common sense bus rolled into town. Taft's budget proposal seems to be forsaking the future just to balance the budget in the here-and-now.

Despite an overall increase in the level of state aid to Ohio's public schools, Taft's budget would cut funding to 254 of the state's districts, about 40 percent, within two years.

Email newsletter signup

Thankfully the Ohio House of Representatives seems intent on fighting with the governor over this issue that will be paramount to Ohio's short-term future and its ability to grow into the 21st century long after Taft is out of office.

We commend the House for its efforts. There may be fat in the state's budget but we find it unlikely that it is in the field of education - an area that has long been funded poorly. Though there certainly may be better ways to spend the money within education, cutting across the board to districts only punishes the children and stunts their intellectual growth.

The House plan does not cut any school districts but it does keep funding the same as this year for 166 districts in 2006 or 2007. But many of the schools that were going to be cut would have that funding restored.

One flaw is that the House plan still includes spending $300 million to $500 million a year for districts for the regional costs of doing business.

The governor's budget shifts that funding to individual districts in a new equation that is based on the cost of teacher salaries, services for students and maintaining buildings.

Still, we have to believe that cutting school funding is only a short-term fix that could create long-term problem. Neither plan is perfect. Both still have many wrinkles to be ironed out.

In the words of John Brandt, executive director of the Ohio School Boards Association, "The whole thing stinks. It's still a bad budget for education.''

A bad budget for education is a bad budget for the future. If you don't believe us, go ask a rocket scientist.