December 21, 2004- "School Finance Panel Has Suggestions, No Solutions"

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Saturday that the Governor's Blue Task Force on Financing Student Success wrapped up 16 months of work on December 17th without figuring out how Ohio should equitably pay for public education.

"What the task force could not determine is how to pay for delivering education, no matter the wealth of the district," the Plain Dealer said. Then, the article went on to say, the task force is preparing a report for Governor Taft with 15 recommendations. The report is due by the end of December and the Governor figures to use it to determine a budget for K-12 education.

The Plain Dealer also said the task force, without voting, reached a consensus that poor school districts need more money to educate students.

Read the Plain Dealer article. Click: School finance panel has suggestions, no solution

December 20, 2004- In The News

* Average tuition at Ohio's state universities this academic year is just over $7,500, well above the national average of $5,132 reported this fall by the College Board.
....Cleveland Plain Dealer, December 20, 2004

* Ohio’s starting teacher salaries fall short when compared with nearby states, according to an October report by the Legislative Office of Education Oversight. Ohio ranked last when compared with Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.
....Columbus Dispatch, December 20, 2004

* The federal No Child Left Behind law will label thousands of Ohio special-education teachers, who have state licenses certifying they are trained to teach children with disabilities, as unqualified beginning this school year. And unless they take hours of classes or the law changes, many could lose their jobs by the end of the 2005-06 school year. NCLB requires that special-education teachers be rated as highly certified in up to four subjects, math, English, social studies and science. Most regular high-school teachers need to be certified in just one of those disciplines. ....Columbus Dispatch, December 19, 2004

* The State Board of Education amended rules relating to Teacher Education and Licensure Standards. The amendments are in response to mandates in Senate Bill 2 and to provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Changes in the rules include the following: (1) Addition of a provision that would permit National Board Certified teachers to renew their licenses one time based on earning National Board certification; (2) Addition of a K-12 gifted endorsement; (3) Addition of the designation “ESEA Qualified” on the educational aide permits of paraprofessionals who meet the No Child Left Behind requirements for paraprofessionals; and (4) Incorporation of provisions to designate teacher-preparatory institutions as effective, conditional or low-performing. ....Ohio Department of Education, December 14, 2004

December 17, 2004- 2003 TIMSS: U.S. Exceeds International Average

On Tuesday of this week the National Center for Education Statistics released the results on the performances of U.S. students from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). TIMSS, conducted every four years, is an assessment of fourth and eighth graders in mathematics and science. In 2003, the United States and 44 other countries participated in data collection at two grade levels. Twenty-five nations collected data on fourth-graders and 45 nations collected data on eighth-graders. TIMSS results are reported on a scale from 0 to 1,000, with the international standard deviation set at 100.


2003 Performance at Grade Four
U.S. fourth-grade students scored 518 in mathematics, on average, exceeding the international average of 495. (25 nations)
2003 Performance at Grade Eight
U.S. eighth-grade students scored 504 in mathematics, on average, exceeding the international average of 466. (45 nations)


2003 Performance at Grade Four
U.S. fourth-grade students scored 536 in science, on average, exceeding the international average of 489. (25 nations)

2003 Performance at Grade Eight
U.S. eighth-grade students scored 527 in science, on average, exceeding the international average of 473. (45 nations)

For more information click: PDF version of the powerpoint presentation for TIMSS 2003

December 16, 2004- School-Funding Litigation In The U.S.

Current School Finance Litigation in the United States

> > School Finance Litigation > > * “In process” ranges from recently filed cases to cases where full implementation of the remedy seems close at hand. > > Molly A. Hunter, the director of legal research for the Advocacy Center for Children’s Educational Success with Standards (ACCESS), a national coalition of school finance lawyers, said, "In the equity cases of the 1970s and 1980s, states prevailed almost two-thirds of the time. But in adequacy cases, plaintiffs have won 23 times in cases against 27 states." > > SOURCES: Campaign for Fiscal Equity and Education Week

December 15, 2004- Balancing State Budget With Local Property Tax?

The Dayton Daily News said today that the State of Ohio must solve a shortfall of up to $5 billion as it develops a new two-year budget by June 30 of next year........and observers believe the legislature may cut the Local Government Fund by 50 percent over the biennium. The Daily News also reported that House Speaker-elect Jon Husted said local governments shouldn't budget to receive anything from the fund until after the state budget is prepared.

> > The Montgomery County Auditor said if the legislature were to eliminate the Local Government Fund, it would take up to 10.46 additional mills of local property taxes in his county to make up for the lost revenue. There is little doubt that similar results would occur in every Ohio county. > > What are the implications for school funding? Cuts in state aid to schools? More school levies on the ballot? Increased reliance on local property taxes? More districts with fiscal emergencies? "Again, you're at the discretion of the voters," the Montgomery County Auditor told local school treasurers and government budget officials. "The idea that voters are going to put 10 more mills on themselves is doubtful."

December 14, 2004- School Choice Advocates Worried

According to a recent article in Education Week, some school choice advocates are worried about Margaret Spellings’ nomination to succeed U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige. They fear their cause will get crowded out in President Bush’s second term by a heightened focus on test-based accountability.


The Education Week article said, "As they lament the imminent loss of a secretary they considered a champion, many proponents of private school vouchers and other nonconventional educational options are withholding judgment on how forcefully Ms. Spellings is likely to support choice. But others, especially voucher proponents, are openly voicing concern that she will prove a much less passionate advocate than Mr. Paige."

December 13, 2004- School Funding Initiative Petition

Today's Cleveland Plain Dealer published an article highlighting former State Representative Bryan Flannery's school-funding initiative petition.

The Plain Dealer said the Flannery proposal would:

* Establish a commission that would determine what constitutes an adequate education for all children - special needs, vocational, gifted, poor - and what it would cost. The legislature would be required to pay for all of that cost, minus local property taxes equal to 20 mills (or $20 for every $1,000 of property value.) The makeup of the commission is not outlined in the proposal.

* Discontinue all local school property taxes over 20 mills, and prohibit districts from going to the ballot to seek tax hikes for operating expenses. For high-wealth districts that lose revenue as a result, the state would be required to make up the difference. Flannery estimates local property taxes would be cut by at least $1.7 billion.

* More than double Homestead Exemption benefits for elderly and disabled people.

* Prohibit the state from raising sales, income or other taxes to pay for the commission's recommendation.

> There are only eight days left.Your help is needed to make this happen. >

Download petition and instructions from and collect signatures. Petitions must be sent to Bryan Flannery, 20169 Bradgate Lane, Strongsville, OH 44149 as soon as possible. The signed petitions must be filed with the state no later than December 21, 2004.

Read the Cleveland Plain Dealer article. Click: New front in school funding battle

December 10, 2004- Governor To Meet With Task Force Educators

The Columbus Dispatch said the Governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Financing Student Success failed again yesterday to reach a consensus. Controversy over the proposed task force recommendations intensified last month when a draft report was made public. Now, according to the Dispatch, Governor Taft is to meet privately with several educators on the Blue Ribbon Task Force. A spokesperson for the Governor said, "The governor wants to hear their thoughts on the recommendations before the report comes out." The task force is supposed to finish its work December 17th, the Dispatch article said.

December 9, 2004- AASA Concerned About Teaching Requirement

According to a Los Angeles Times article, a provision that has been inserted into a federal spending bill that would require schools to devote at least part of a day each year to teaching about the U.S. Constitution. Schools receiving federal funding would be required to teach about the Constitution on September 17, the anniversary of the document's signing in 1787. The provision would apply to all schools, elementary through college, that receive federal aid. The L.A. Times said education groups are concerned that the provision could be the "opening wedge in a campaign by Washington to influence what schools teach." A spokesperson for American Association of School Administrators (AASA) said, "We think it's great that Congress really wants to make sure that every child understands the Constitution. But we hope that members of Congress will remember the Constitution itself when they make policy. And the 10th Amendment clearly states that education is a state's right." Source: "Mission to Mandate Teaching of Constitution Inserted Into Bill," Los Angeles Times, December 4, 2004

December 8, 2004- CORAS 2004-05 Membership

The Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools (CORAS) has 131 active members for the 2004-05 school year. Seventeen of the 29 Ohio Appalachian counties have 100% membership in the Coalition. These counties are Brown, Pike, Gallia, Hocking, Vinton, Perry, Meigs, Morgan, Washington, Noble, Monroe, Muskingum, Guernsey, Coshocton, Holmes, Jefferson and Harrison. Two counties, Athens and Jackson, are just one school district short of having 100% membership. Seven new members, not active in CORAS last year, have joined the Coalition this year.

December 7, 2004- In The News

* Garfield Elementary School, Steubenville City School District, is one of the 14 Ohio schools nominated by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to be considered for the U.S. Department of Education’s 2005 No Child Left Behind—Blue Ribbon Schools award. Garfield was the only school nominated from the 29 county Ohio Appalachian region. ...Ohio Department of Education, December 3, 2004 * The Ohio Department of Education reported yesterday that 54.5 percent of the 127,737 third-graders who took the Third-Grade Reading Achievement Test in October 2004 passed. Last October (2003), 46.3 percent passed. By the end of the 2003-04 school year, the passage rate had improved to 78 percent. ...Associated Press, December 7, 2004

* The nation's 15-year-olds make a poor showing on a newly released international test of practical math applications, ranking 24th out of 29 industrialized nations, behind South Korea, Japan and most of Europe. U.S. students' scores were comparable to those in Poland, Hungary and Spain. Results of the test, known as the Program for International Student Assessment, were released Monday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of industrialized nations. ...USA Today, December 7, 2004

December 6, 2004- 2005 CORAS Programs

* The topic for discussion at the Tuesday, January 25, 2005 CORAS meeting at the Olde Dutch Restaurant in Logan will be FUNDING OHIO'S SCHOOLS: WHAT'S BEING PROPOSED FOR THE NEXT BIENNIUM (FY 2006-2007) AND BEYOND? , The program will include Susan Tavakolian, Executive Director, Office of Budget and Planning, Ohio Department of Education; Paul Marshall, Executive Director, Governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Financing Student Success; Bryan Flannery, Former State Representative and sponsor of the Flannery Education Initiative Petition; and John Brandt, Executive Director, Ohio School Boards Association. Registration materials will be mailed to CORAS members in early January. Mark this date on your calendar. * On Tuesday, March 15, 2005 the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools and the Southeast Region of the Ohio School Boards Association will co-sponsor the program SUPERINTENDENTS AND SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS: AREN'T WE IN THIS THING TOGETHER? OSBA Director of School Board Development, Rob Delane, will speak on the topic, "Aren't We In This Thing Together?" A panel of superintendents and school board members will conduct a follow-up discussion. The location for this meeting will be announced later. Mark this date on your calendar. * Planning is currently underway for the Thursday, April 28, 2005 (tentative) Samuel I. Hick Executive-In-Residence program sponsored jointly by CORAS and Ohio University College of Education. The annual CORAS summer meeting and golf outing is set for Tuesday, June 14, 2005 at EagleSticks Golf Club and Inn, Zanesville. Mark these dates on your calendar.

December 3, 2004- Bill Would Relax School Sanctions

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported yesterday that nearly 130 Ohio school districts could be removed from the "needs Improvement" list under a bill adopting new standards for applying the New Child Left Behind Act. The Ohio Senate approved the bill Wednesday and it now shifts to the House of Representatives where a vote is expected later this month. The Plain Dealer said that current law breaks students into grading groups to track standardized test results. If just one of those groups fails in reading or math, the entire district could be placed into a "needs improvement" category and subjected to sanctions. The bill that passed the Senate Wednesday states that a failing-grade group, as long as others have shown academic progress over the previous year, will no longer drop a district into the lower category.

December 2, 2004- "Lawmakers Have Not Been Held Accountable..."

"Decades have gone by with school district administrators trying to make ends meet and keep their districts out of debt. Cuts have been made by attrition, or not replacing employees who have retired. Buildings have been consolidated, making districts -- taxpayers -- holders of real estate they don't need or want, but must pay to upkeep. Health insurance rates have skyrocketed for everyone, including districts trying to attract quality teachers. And, since the Ohio Supreme Court washed its hands of DeRolph v. State of Ohio, the issue of school funding has nearly gone all the way back to square one. Lawmakers have not been held accountable for the debacle which is the funding of primary and secondary education." ....from Chillicothe Gazette editorial, December 1, 2004

December 1, 2004- A Better Way To Fund Ohio's Schools

From the Bryan Flannery web site. There are three weeks left to make this happen. Download petitions and instructions. Help change Ohio for the better!

The Ohio Supreme Court issued four DeRolph decisions. The third decision was reconsidered and thus set aside. The fourth decision admonished the legislature to give the school funding system a complete systematic overhaul in accordance with the terms of DeRolph I & II.

DeRolph I & II clearly stipulated that the system of school funding must undergo a complete systematic overhaul. Among the factors the Court found that contributed to the unworkability of the system and must be eliminated are:

v The operation of the school foundation program (no relationship between the level of funding and the actual cost of an adequate education)

v Emphasis on property tax

v “Phantom” revenue

v Unfunded mandates

v Lack of strict academic standards (which include input standards or standards of opportunity)

The initiative petition developed by Bryan Flannery, a former State Representative, responds directly to the flaws the Court found in the system. It requires that the costs for the various categories of students—regular, special education, vocational, gifted, disadvantaged and other special needs—be based on essential learning resources inherent in a thorough and efficient system.

The petition makes public K-12 education an entitlement that requires the state to fully fund education with the local involvement of 20 mills on property. The provisions in the Flannery Initiative Petition effectively and succinctly respond to the flaws enumerated in the DeRolph decisions.

Download the petition from and collect signatures at basketball games and other school events. Petitions must be sent to Bryan Flannery, 20169 Bradgate Lane, Strongsville, OH 44149 by December 15.

November 30, 2004- Violent School Crime Cut In Half

Violent school crime has been cut in half over the past 10 years, according to a report released Monday by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and National Center for Education Statistics. This annual report examines crime occurring in school as well as on the way to and from school. The report said violent crime against students in schools fell by 50% between 1992 and 2002, with young people more often targeted for violence away from school. The report also said: • In 2003, 22% of students in grades 9-12 reported using marijuana during the preceding 30 days. That compares with 18% in 1993 and 27% in 1999.

• About 45% of high school students in 2003 said they had at least one alcoholic drink in the 30 days before they were surveyed, about the same as in 1993 and down from a recent high of 52% in 1995.

• A third of students in grades 9-12 said that someone had offered, given or sold them an illegal drug on school property in 2003. That number has essentially remained the same over the past decade.

Read the report. Click: NEW! Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2004

November 29, 2004- In The News

* In addition to their normal progression from elementary to middle school to high school, at least four in 10 students change schools one or more times by the time they are 17 years old. ....Associated Press, November 28, 2004 * An investigation of Head Start agencies by the Columbus Dispatch found that nearly 70 percent of money intended for preschool education of poor children in Ohio is going unspent, and nearly 8,000 eligible children are not receiving help. ....Columbus Dispatch, November 28, 2004 > >

* More than 26,500 limited English proficient students were enrolled in the state's elementary and secondary public schools during the 2003-2004 school year, according to the Ohio Department of Education. This represents a 33 percent increase over the number reported three years ago and a 110 percent increase over the number from 10 years ago. ....Dayton Daily News, November 29, 2004

* In his column today, Lee Leonard said the current "school-funding system will remain for three basic reasons: (1) Ohioans won’t give up their constitutional right to vote on school taxes, (2) property taxes provide a stable source of revenue and (3) the Buckeye State is too diverse for a one-size-fits-all method of distributing the money." ....Columbus Dispatch, November 29, 2004

November 24, 2004- "....start working with educators instead of fighting them."

"If the governor and lawmakers really believe that education is a key element in improving the state's economy and the state's future -- and they certainly should believe that -- then they should start working with educators instead of fighting them." ...from an editorial in the Lancaster Eagle Gazette, November 20, 2004.

November 23, 2004- Appalachian Counties Unemployment Rates

According to the Ohio Job & Family Services September 2004 Civilian Labor Force Estimates (the latest data by county available) 23 of the 29 Ohio Appalachian counties had unemployment rates above the national average. Unemployment rates in 21 Ohio Appalachian counties exceeded the state average. In six counties, including Coshocton, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum and Perry, the September unemployment rate was above 10 percent, ranging from 10.3 percent to 15.8 percent. The Columbus Dispatch reported Saturday that Ohio’s October 2004 jobless rate was 6.3 percent, almost a full percentage point higher than the U.S. average of 5.5 percent.

November 22, 2004- Congress Approves Special Education Bill

Congress has approved and sent to the President a bill updating special education requirements. The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) said the bill will: * Broaden the ways for schools to identify special education pupils, allowing schools to reach children in earlier grades and reduce the relatively high share of minority children who are tracked toward special education. * Give districts the flexibility to spend up to 15 percent of federal special education money on services to children who are not in special education, but who may need extra help to succeed in regular classrooms. * Regarding the issue of classroom discipline, AASA said the bill maintains federal protections that require schools to show that a disabled child's misbehavior is not a result of a disability or of the school's failure to provide services that could have prevented the outburst. But if a review determines that the misconduct is unrelated to the disability, the school could expel the pupil. The President is expected to sign the bill.

November 19, 2004- There Is Another "Game In Town."

The Governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force On Financing Student Success met yesterday to finalize their report to the Governor. The task force recommended some changes to finance Ohio's public schools. But, according to newspaper reports, legislators instantly dismissed them. The Columbus Dispatch said the group could not reach agreement on even the most-basic issues. The Dispatch added, "The divisions among the 35 lawmakers, educators, and business and community leaders underscore the uncertainty surrounding any proposal." Some published comments: Senator Jacobson said, "I will work to defeat it." (Akron Beacon Journal and Cincinnati Enquirer) Senator Jacobson told colleagues on the panel that he will work against a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution that, if approved by voters, would allow real-estate tax revenues generated in school districts to increase, within limits, as property values grow. (Columbus Dispatch) Senator C. J. Prentiss said, "We spent 16 months working on something that I frankly feel will fail." (Columbus Dispatch) and "I've been saying all along that we need a Plan B because what we are proposing is not going to pass the General Assembly." (Cleveland Plain Dealer) House Minority Leader Chris Redfern said he doubts that many of his fellow Democrats would support the amendment. (Cleveland Plain Dealer) Paul Marshall, executive director of the task force, conceded that winning approval for the constitutional amendment wouldn't be easy. (Cleveland Plain Dealer) Since it appears the Governor's Task Force is struggling, there is another "game in town." Check out former State Representative Bryan Flannery's website. >

Participate in the school funding reform petition drive. Click on to download the official petition and instructions

November 18, 2004- Task Force Finalizing School-Funding Plan

The Governor's Task Force On Financing Student Success will meet this morning to finalize its recommendations. The Columbus Dispatch said the "49-page draft report doesn’t include a magic number and doesn’t promise a quick fix..." but has ".....some significant recommendations aimed at easing the financial burdens on school districts."

The recommendations referred to by the Dispatch would allow real-estate tax revenues generated in school districts to increase, within limits, as property values grow; would eliminate "phantom revenue;" would provide districts with large numbers of students living in poverty more state aid for all-day kindergarten and smaller class sizes; and would provide all school districts with more money for professional development, student intervention and the building of databases to evaluate students’ performance. The cost would be about $400 million more a year, according to the Dispatch.

Some panel members say the draft report falls short of the court’s order for a complete, systematic overhaul, the Dispatch said.

Read the Dispatch article. Click: Panel finalizing school-funding plan

November 17, 2004- Today's Education News

* The State Board of Education is considering a proposal that would allow students to graduate from high school even if they haven't passed the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT). A report by the Task Force on Quality High Schools for a Lifetime of Opportunity recommends an appeals process that would allow students to graduate if they could show in another way that they have learned the academic standards measured by the graduation test. It suggests using college entrance exams such as the SAT or ACT as an alternative to the OGT. Any changes would require the approval of the Legislature. ....Associated Press, November 17, 2004

* School Districts currently must show that students in each of three grade spans (grades K-4, 5-8 and 9-12) improve annually in math and reading, a major tenet of the No Child Left Behind law. A bill introduced in the Ohio Senate yesterday would allow districts to show progress in just one of those grade spans to avoid a series of sanctions. If passed, the bill would be implemented immediately, according to an Ohio Department of Education official. ....Columbus Dispatch, November 17, 2004

* Ohio high schools need to be revamped, according to a report adopted yesterday by the State Board of Education. The report, by the Task Force on Quality High Schools for a Lifetime of Opportunity, recommends Ohio create smaller, more-personalized schools, offer challenging courses and provide students with more hands-on learning experiences such as internships. ....Columbus Dispatch, November 17, 2004

* Ohio charter schools will receive more than $376 million in public money this year, based on the state's November payments compiled by the Coalition for Public Education. ....Cleveland Plain Dealer, November 17, 2004

November 16, 2004- Education, Job Training Needed

According to a report released yesterday, "Average Isn't Enough: Advancing Working Families to Create an Outstanding Ohio Economy," one in five jobs in Ohio pays less than poverty-level wages. For a family of four, that was $18,392, or $8.84 an hour, according to 2002 census statistics that were used for the report. Education and job training programs are needed to help the state's neediest residents become self-sufficient, the study concludes.

November 15, 2004- In The News

* Twenty school districts have reached fiscal watch or fiscal emergency status, according to the Ohio Auditor's office. ....Toledo Blade, November 15, 2004 * "Many groups, including the Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of Schools, and the Coalition of Rural Appalachian Schools, which was formed in 1988, continue to fight for fairness in public school financing." ....Toledo Blade, November 14, 2004 Read the article. Click: Effort to fix system is decade old * Statewide (Ohio), just slightly more than 3,400 of the nearly 8,500 Head Start Plus slots are filled. Enrollment is down this year because of the new eligibility restrictions and a tedious approval process, Head Start Plus directors say. ....Cleveland Plain Dealer, November 12, 2004

* Studies routinely cited as evidence that home-schooled students perform better than public school students don't prove anything because there are huge, untested segments of the home-school population that may be failing, according to many researchers. ....Akron Beacon Journal, November 15, 2004 Read ABJ article. Click: Claims of academic success rely on anecdotes, flawed data analysis

November 12, 2004- School Dropouts and Dropout Prevention

Nationally, between 347,000 and 544,000 students in grades 10 through 12 left school each year from 1990 through 2001, according to a national study completed last month, according to the Toledo Blade. The Blade said in the 34,000-student Toledo Public Schools, 3,464 pupils entered high school as freshmen in the fall of 1999. Four years later, there were only 1,532 students in the senior class. On Tuesday, November 16, 2004 at 8:00 p.m. PBS television will broadcast a program highlighting successful dropout prevention efforts. Paint Valley Local School District (Ross County, and a CORAS member) is included in the TV program for their efforts in reducing high school dropouts, according to Superintendent Phil Satterfield.

November 11, 2004- Projected Decrease In Ohio's Public School Enrollment

The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) has projected that Ohio's public school enrollment will decrease by 3.2 percent between the years 2001 and 2013. Only New York, North Dakota, Kentucky and West Virginia are projected to have a greater decrease. Nationwide, according to NCES, enrollment in public schools is expected to increase by 4 percent during that same period.

November 10, 2004- School Choice

* In 1999, the federal government estimated the number of students being home schooled to be around 850,000. By 2003, the number had jumped to somewhere between 1.7 and 2.1 million students, according to data from the National Home Education Research Institute. Some experts argue that home schooling is the fastest-growing form of education in the country. * A recent Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll shows that 42 percent of adults favor voucher initiatives while 56 percent oppose them. Government-supported voucher programs are in several states including Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, Maine, and Vermont. * According to the Center for Education Reform, an organization that advocates for charter schools, there were nearly 3,000 charter schools in 37 states and the District of Columbia in January 2004. The schools enroll some 685,000 students. * Public school choice is gaining popularity according to Education Week’s Quality Counts 2004. The report found that 44 states (compared to 32 states the year before) have open-enrollment programs in place.

November 9, 2004- Did You Know?

Did you know that nationwide between 1991-92 and 2001-02 school years there was a 13.4% increase in public school students and a 23.3% increase in the number of teachers?
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

November 8, 2004- High School Dropout Rates

A new report by National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) shows that while progress was made during the 1970s and 1980s in reducing high school dropout rates and increasing high school completion rates, these rates have since stagnated. The report includes four rates to provide a broad picture of high school dropouts and completers in the United States: the event dropout rate, the status dropout rate, the status completion rate, and the 4-year completion rate. Each rate provides unique information about the state of high school education. Read about each "rate" by clicking on the following. Event Dropout Rates
Status Dropout Rates
Status Completion Rates
4-Year Completion Rates
Data Considerations To read the full report, Click: NEW REPORT! Dropout Rates In the United States: 2001

November 4, 2004- November School Tax Issues

According to the Ohio Department of Education there were 286 school tax issues on the November 2nd ballot. Election results show 144 issues passing and 142 issues failing. The November 2004 passage rate was 50.35%. The five-year, 2000 through 2004, November passage rate is 59.28%. Tax Issues Passage Rate
November 2004.............286.....................50.35%
November 2003.............221.....................47.96%
November 2002.............189.....................59.26%
November 2001.............162.....................66.67%
November 2000.............252.....................74.60%

To view the November 2004 results by school district, Click: Results by District

November 3, 2004- CORAS Research Project: Board/Superintendent Relationships

The CORAS/COE Leadership & Research Committee met on October 19th to develop and refine their new research project. The primary purpose of the meeting was to assist the researchers in the design of the case study protocols dealing with board-superintendent relationships. The overarching research question to be answered is: What is the character of communication between boards and superintendents in school districts with different demographic characteristics? Five school districts will be selected for case studies from among the highest and lowest socio-economic quartiles in urban, suburban-small town and rural locales in Ohio. The committee agreed on six subordinate research questions, which would provide a beginning point for developing interview questions. Those research questions are:

  • What explicit communication strategies are used?
  • What communication approaches are avoided?
  • How does communication work to advance vision-setting and continuous improvement?
  • How is the work of boards evaluated?
  • What procedures are used to evaluate superintendents?
  • How is the superintendent transition handled?
CORAS members will updated periodically on the progress of the research project. For more information on the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools/College of Education research project, Click: Leadership and Research Committee

November 2, 2004- Ohio's School Funding Crisis

Nearly 42 percent of Ohio districts are on the ballot today seeking tax increases to support public schools.

November 2, 2004- More On School Funding Gap

The study, Funding Gap 2004, by the Education Trust found that school districts in high-poverty areas in 25 states received less money from state and local sources than their wealthier counterparts. When adjusted to account for additional costs associated with an equal education for children from low-income families, 36 states were found to have funding gaps.

The Education Trust makes several recommendations to states for easing the funding gap:

• Increasing the share of state funding for education;

• Reducing reliance on local property taxes to pay for education;

• Targeting more aid toward children from low-income families; and

• Promoting budget practices that give schools within each district the same amount of per-pupil funding, with adjustments for students living in poverty.

November 1, 2004- Unpaid Federal Share of Special Education

The following message is from the American Association of School Administrators. Inspired by the steps taken by Barrington Public School District in New Hampshire, AASA is starting a nationwide project to bring increased attention to the federal shortfall of funding special education. AASA has created a template for every district to bill the federal government for their unpaid share of special education funding. In 1975, Congress passed the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA). Recognizing that schools were being asked to provide more services, Congress promised to pay 40 percent of the Average per Pupil Expenditure for every student in special education. Currently, Congress is barely at 19 percent instead of the 40 percent originally promised. Despite recent increases in IDEA funding, at the rate of increases of $1 billion a year, Congress will never reach its 40 percent commitment. By billing the federal government for their unpaid portion of special education, school districts across the country can send the message that the federal government is passing its burden onto local school districts. The invoice would be best issued on your school district letterhead. You can access a template for this invoice by clicking on When you get the prompt, you can save the template as a document on your computer. This prompt will show up when you click on the above link. You will need three pieces of information to fill it out: how many students your district serves under IDEA, how much you received from the federal government for IDEA and how much your district spent in total on special education services. Just plug them into the above spreadsheet and the outstanding balance will automatically pop up. Please send a copy of this invoice to all of the members of your Congressional Delegation. You can find your members of Congress by clicking on Also please copy AASA (Attn: Mary Kusler) on what you send to your Congressional Delegations as AASA plans on tracking the efforts of its membership.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact Mary Kusler at or 703-875-0733.

October 29, 2004- Growing Your Own Leadership

Will you be attending the OSBA Capital Conference? The Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools and the Ohio University College of Education have recently completed a series of studies titled, “Who Will Lead Our Schools?” The results of this study will be discussed at the OSBA Conference in November. The session will be held from 9:00 - 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday, November 10th at the Columbus Convention Center. The presentation focuses on “growing your own leadership" — what boards and administrators can do. The CORAS/OU presenters are Aimee Howley, Max Evans, Larry Burgess and Jerry Vinci. Mark this date/time on your calendar! (Pass this information on to members of your Board of Education.)

October 28, 2004- Calls For GAO Investigation

A member of the U. S. House Education Committee has called for a Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation of two U.S. Department of Education grants. The grants were awarded to the Arkansas education department for an online learning project it set up with K12 Inc. and to the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE), a project of the Education Leaders Council (ELC). The grants total almost $45 million, according to Education Week.

EW said the grant involving K12 Inc. was awarded even though the project did not meet U.S. Education Department grant criteria and peer reviewers had ranked at least one other project higher. K12 Inc., based in McLean, Virginia, was founded by William J. Bennett.

The letter calling for the investigation said the ABCTE award disregarded two out of three reviewers’ rejections of the project. Deputy Secretary of Education Eugene W. Hickok was a founding member of the ELC, the Education Week article said.

October 27, 2004- Propose Changing NCLB

Twenty-five education, civil rights, and other groups are forming a coalition to propose changing how the No Child Left Behind law measures academic progress, reducing the amount of testing required, and replacing “sanctions that do not have a consistent record of success” with interventions that enable schools to improve student achievement. The American Association of School Administrators, the Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders, and the National Education Association are among the organizations signing on to the statement. The groups emphasize their support for the NCLB objectives of strong academic achievement for all children and elimination of achievement gaps, and support for an accountability system that helps achieve such aims. But they call for “significant corrections” to the law.

Another group called the Achievement Alliance, which includes the Education Trust and the Business Roundtable, formed a few weeks ago to support the No Child Left Behind law and promote a better understanding of its provisions.

Read the Education Week article. Click: Groups Offer Changes for School Law

October 26, 2004- Growing Challenges To Charter Schools

The New York Times said yesterday that charter schools "has become one of the most contentious issues in education." The Times pointed to the following challenges to charter schools.

* Washington state passed a law in March to allow charter schools, but is now facing a referendum on the November 2nd ballot that seeks to repeal it.

* A Chicago plan to close 100 failing schools and replace some with charter schools has provoked protests.

* In Detroit, an entrepreneur offered $200 million to create 15 charter schools, but the teachers union and some parents persuaded the State Legislature to block the proposal.

* In Massachusetts and Ohio, school budget problems aggravated by the loss of money to charter schools have touched off a movement against them.

* Florida and California are tightening regulations after corruption scandals.

Today, there are 3,000 publicly financed, privately managed charter schools operating in 40 states, according to the NY Times.

October 25, 2004- Candidates For State Board of Education

Twenty-three Ohio Appalachian counties will be selecting a representative to the State Board of Education on November 2nd. The candidates from District 9, containing 11 Appalachian counties (Perry, Hocking, Muskingum, Coshocton, Morgan, Athens, Meigs, Guernsey, Noble, Monroe and Washington), are: David Daubenmire, 50 Woody Knoll Drive, Thornville, William E. Moore, 14 1/2 Maple Avenue, Woodsfield, and Jennifer Stewart, 2775 Martin Road, Zanesville. Colleen D. Grady, 18782 South Inlet Drive, Strongsville, Robin C. Hovis, 188 North Washington Street, Millersburg, and Ed Lepisto, 1842 Fishermans Trail, Madison, are candidates seeking a seat on the state board from District 5. Holmes County is the only Appalachian county in District 5. Jane Sonenshein, 6143 Kilrenny Drive, Loveland, is the only candidate listed from District 10 with eleven Appalachian counties (Adams, Brown, Clermont, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross, Scioto, and Vinton).

October 22, 2004- In The News....

* Moyer and Connally also clashed over the role of the court. Connally, saying she believes the Constitution is a living document, referred to school funding and said the court must enforce its rulings. ....Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 22, 2004

* Warren Appeals Court Judge William O’Neill broke ranks with the three other associate justice candidates by blasting the state legislature for not fixing school-funding problems. The Ohio Supreme Court, in four rulings, has found the system of financing public schools unconstitutional. "I believe the Ohio General Assembly is in contempt of court,’’ O’Neill said. " When the state legislature encroaches on the Constitution," he said, "They are entitled to no deference. They are on forbidden ground."....Columbus Dispatch, October 22, 2004 * Average undergraduate tuition at Ohio's four-year public universities was $4,973 in 2001-02, climbing to $6,822 last year. ....Akron Beacon Journal, October 22, 2004

* More than eight years after they were launched as a bold experiment in education, Texas' charter schools as a whole are performing well below other public schools on state tests, according to a new review of data. ....Dallas Morning News, October 21, 2004

October 21, 2004- Several States To Vote On School Funding

Education Week reports that voters in at least a dozen states will cast ballots November 2nd on whether to force their states to raise school funding, provide lottery or gambling revenues to schools, or restrict taxes that traditionally have raised money for education. The results could mean dramatic increases in K-12 spending in some states and, at the same time, the outcomes could shrink local money available for schools in other states, the article said.Education Week reports that voters in at least a dozen states will cast ballots November 2nd on whether to force their states to raise school funding, provide lottery or gambling revenues to schools, or restrict taxes that traditionally have raised money for education. The results could mean dramatic increases in K-12 spending in some states and, at the same time, the outcomes could shrink local money available for schools in other states, the article said.

Taking the school finance debate directly to voters has become increasingly popular in recent years, say political scientists. "They’re going to the ballot to get priority for education, which they can’t get from the state legislature," said a professor of education at Stanford University. Advocates will continue to take such questions directly to voters, another expert said, for a simple reason: They often succeed.

Read the Education Week article. Click: Voters Weigh K-12 Finance at Ballot Box

October 20, 2004- CORAS Meetings Focus On School Funding/Candidates

The Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools (CORAS) held meetings on September 14, 2004 and October 12, 2004 focusing on school funding and candidates seeking statewide offices in the November election. Nearly 90 people attended the two meetings.

The September meeting in Logan offered participants an opportunity to experience the School Funding in Ohio Learning Maps developed by Edventures, Inc. and Ohio Public School Dialogue. Dan Romano, Edventures, Inc. , presented the learning maps. Table coaches were Dick Murray, Keith Richards, Forest Yocum, Paul Mock, Barb Hansen, Rosemary Tolliver, and Barbara Spragg. Ron Bickert and Max Evans represented the Ohio Public School Dialogue. Presentations at the October meeting in Zanesville included an update on the Governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Financing Student Success, by Russ Harris, OEA Government Services, a discussion of candidates favorable to public education, led by Paul Folmer, Ohioans for Educational Justice, and a look at the escalating school funding crisis in Ohio, by William L. Phillis, Executive Director, E&A Coalition. The next CORAS meeting is set for Tuesday, January 25, 2005. The program and location will be announced soon.

October 19, 2004- Equity Or Adequacy

The following is an excerpt from an article published Sunday, October 17, 2004, in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Among other things, the article discusses the school-funding issue of equity or adequacy. The Plain Dealer said: Lawsuits remain active in 27 states, including Texas, New York and Kansas. Nine states including Ohio have funding systems in place that have been ruled unconstitutional. The first wave of those lawsuits, which started in California in 1971, focused almost entirely on equity. That shifted in the late 1980s when reformers started to challenge the adequacy of the finance systems. What's the difference? Policy analyst Andrew Rotherham likens equity to Kurt Vonnegut's 1962 story "Harrison Bergeron." The story describes a society in which everyone is equal. Fleet people wear weights to slow them down. Attractive people wear masks. Intelligent people wear devices in their ears that pipe in distracting noise. The point? "Equity" equalizes funding levels in an arbitrary way. "Adequacy," on the other hand, provides the resources children need to meet demanding new academic standards. "I'd argue that adequacy is the best way to ensure equity," said Rotherham, director of the 21st Century Schools Project at the Progressive Policy Institute. Some might question Rotherham's analogy, but whether it be equity or adequacy, the Ohio General Assembly and the Governor may not "deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws," according to the Fourteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution.

Read the full article from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Click: • Educators, lawmakers struggle to find formula that passes test

October 18, 2004- "most shameful...archaic, undemocratic and ultimately unfixable"

Jonathan Kozol, who has chronicled the effect of school funding inequities on children throughout the nation, was quoted in the Sunday Cleveland Plain Dealer. Speaking about Ohio's school-funding system, Kozol said, "Ohio is, perhaps, the most shameful example in the nation. The entire system is archaic, undemocratic and ultimately unfixable."

October 15, 2004- Preparing Students For College

American high school students are no better prepared for college today than they were 10 years ago, according to a new study released yesterday by ACT. The New York Times said the ACT study found that the proportion of students taking a minimum core of college preparatory courses, four years of English and three years each of mathematics, science and social studies, had risen only slightly in 10 years: to 56 percent in 2004, from 54 percent in 1994. Kati Haycock, director of the Education Trust, said the ACT report was useful in focusing attention on the need to improve high schools. Haycock said, "There has been a belief that if we got kids off to a better start, the problems in high school would fix themselves. That has not happened. What we're learning is that education is not like an inoculation, where if you do it once, you are set for life. It is more like nutrition, where you have to do it right and then keep doing it right." Read the New York Times Report. Click: Study of College Readiness Finds No Progress in Decade

October 14, 2004- "The Voters Speak"

Reprinted form the October, 2004 Teachers Magazine. All responses except the first one are drawn from an annual survey of 800 registered voters conducted by Lake Snell Perry & Associates for Education Week and the Public Education Network. The first question is from a CBS News poll.


consider education the top issue in this year's presidential election, behind the war in Iraq (26 percent), the economy (25 percent), and health care (8 percent).


believe that public schools in their community do not receive enough funding.


are "very willing" to increase taxes to fund public education. An additional 45 percent are "somewhat willing" to do so.


oppose NCLB, up more than threefold from the 8 percent who opposed the law in 2003. More than one-third—36 percent—favor legislation, and 34 percent have not made up their minds.


would be more likely to vote for a presidential candidate who says that public education would be the centerpiece of his or her administration. But fewer than half—48 percent—believe such statements are "sincere."

October 13, 2004- Most School Tax Requests Since 1976

The Associated Press reported yesterday that 278 school districts are asking voters to approve 307 tax issues on November 2nd. The issues include operating levies, school income taxes, permanent improvement levies and bonds for building construction. AP said that an analysis by the Akron Beacon Journal showed the 307 issues are the most on a November ballot since 1976. AP also reported that voters will have been asked to approve 639 school tax issues this year, the highest annual total in two decades. In August 2004, voters approved only 25 percent of the 103 school tax issues.

October 12, 2004- NCLB Video

The Associated Press said yesterday the federal government promoted No Child Left Behind (NCLB) by providing TV stations with a video that comes across as a news story. It does not identify the government as the source of the report. It also fails to make clear that the person purporting to be a reporter was hired by the government for the promotional video. According to USA Today, some claimed the government was "sending out videos featuring 'pretend' news reports." AP said the government used a similar approach this year in promoting the new Medicare law and drew a rebuke from the Government Accounting Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress. GAO found that the videos amounted to propaganda in violation of federal law. A spokesperson said the education department stopped offering the video after the GAO ruling in the Medicare case. USA Today also said the U.S. Education Department paid a private firm to provide rankings of newspaper coverage of the No Child Left Behind law. Newspapers and reporters favoring NCLB were awarded points. Stories lost points for negative messages, including claims that the law is not adequately funded or is too tough on states.

October 11, 2004- "the case of the vanishing corporate taxes"

>Sunday's Cleveland Plain Dealer printed an article with the sub-title, Ohio's "Complex, unfair system gives generous breaks to some companies." The Plain Dealer referred to the "unfair system" as "the case of the vanishing corporate taxes." Does Ohio have the capability to raise additional revenue to fund public schools and other essential services? To help answer this question, one might consider what the Plain Dealer article said. >

* Last year, less than 5 percent of Ohio's general fund revenue came from the corporation franchise tax, down from 16.3 percent in 1972. Revenues from the tax have declined by about a third since 1998.

* Six of the biggest companies doing business in Ohio, each with billions in U.S. sales and an average of $650 million in Ohio, paid a grand total of just $50 each in corporation franchise taxes in 2001.

* In 2002, close to half of the 101,000 non-financial companies that were subject to the corporation franchise tax managed to pay just $50 by using available credits, according to the tax department.

* Based on projections by the Ohio Department of Taxation, the state lost some $480 million in potential corporation franchise tax revenues for 2003 because of dozens of credits, exemptions and other breaks

* In 2002, records show, tax credits approved by the General Assembly over the years shaved nearly $18 million, a reduction of more than 80 percent, from the corporation franchise tax liability of Ohio's transportation-equipment manufacturers.

* Ohio's state and local tax collections on corporate income were just $67 per capita, compared with the U.S. average of $124, a state tax-study committee reported last year.

* More than 77 percent of tax changes added to the budget last year to address the state's chronic revenue shortfall were aimed at individuals, according to a report by the Center for Community Solutions in Cleveland.

* Ohio ranks almost dead last in jobs created since 2000 and accounts for nearly 20 percent of all American job losses since the start of the last recession.

Read the Cleveland Plain Dealer article. Click: • Ohio's tangled tax code

October 8, 2004- Ohio Preschool Population Decreasing

The Associated Press reported today that new Census data show Ohio's population of children under 5 years-of-age dropped 2 percent to 740,300 from 2000 to 2003. At the same time, according to AP, Ohio lost 79,011 people aged 20-44, a drop of nearly 2 percent. By contrast, the number of Ohioans, aged 80 to 84, increased to an estimated 234,043 in 2003, up 8 percent from 2000. Overall, the article said, Ohio had 11,435,798 people in 2003, a 0.06 percent increase.

October 7, 2004- School Funding Gap

In 36 states, including Ohio, the highest-poverty school districts receive less money than the lowest-poverty districts when we account for what school funding experts say is the extra cost of educating low-income students, a new report has found. Nationwide the disparity exceeds $1,300 per student. The findings, released yesterday by the Education Trust, showed that high-poverty school districts in Ohio received $347 less per student than their counterparts with relatively few poor children did in 2002. And, according to the report, Ohio ranked 35th of the 50 states in State share of state and local revenue in 2002, the latest year for which data is available. Data from several other states show much greater disparity than Ohio. However, this is not the case in New Jersey where court rulings have forced increases in spending on poor students, and the disparity between districts now favors poor ones, the report said. Read news release and/or report, The Funding Gap 2004. Click: (Press Release) (Report)

October 6, 2004- NCLB: Government Report Says Improvements Needed

The New York Times reported yesterday that No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requires schools to "sharply expand annual testing of students starting next school year." According to a government report, the expanded testing "faces serious obstacles, including unreliable data and a lack of clear and timely guidance from federal officials," the NY Times said. The report, by the Government Accountability Office (G.A.O.), found wide variation in the rules that States use to measure progress. The report went on to suggest that the variation makes comparisons between states meaningless. According to the G.A.O. report, when the U. S. Department of Education said it had approved plans from all states for carrying out NCLB in June 2003, it had in fact completely approved only 11 plans. The remaining plans received conditional approval. As of July 31, 2004, twenty-three states (including Ohio) and the District of Columbia still had only conditional approval. The investigators said that state officials remained uncertain about how to obtain full approval. The G.A.O. report recommends that the U. S. Secretary of Education delineate a written process and timeframes for states to meet conditions for full approval, develop a written plan with steps and timeframes so all states have approved standards and assessment systems by 2006, and further support states’ efforts to gather accurate student data used to determine if goals have been met. To read the report, No Child Left Behind: Improvements Needed In Education's Process For Tracking States Implementation Of Key
Provisions, click: GAO-04-734, NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT: Improvements Needed in Education?s Process for ...

October 5, 2004- In The News

* A recent population survey from the U.S. Census Bureau found that 12.1 percent of Ohioans were living in poverty in 2003, up from 11.9 percent in 2002, and 11 percent in 2001. * Last year, according to an article in the today's Canton Repository, it cost roughly $2,000 more than the national average to attend college in Ohio, while the per capita income in Ohio is about 6 percent less than the national average.

* According to the Columbus Dispatch, State Representatives Claudette J. Woodard, D-Cleveland Heights, and Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, will draft bills this year that would require teachers to undergo criminal checks each time they renew their teacher licenses.

* Ten educators from Hong Kong toured the East Muskingum Local School District yesterday. They are in the United States for the International Alliance for Invitational Education Conference. East Muskingum was chosen as an example of a district which used invitational education. Invitational education is a theory of practice that uses five factors -- people, places, policies, programs and processes -- to create a caring environment to help students realize their potential, according to the Zanesville Times Recorder.

October 4, 2004- Ohio Supreme Court Race Close, Majority Undecided

With four weeks until election day the Ohio Supreme Court race is close, according to a Columbus Dispatch poll. However, the majority of voters are still undecided. The recent Dispatch poll found the following preferences among voters.
* C. Ellen Connally.................23%
Thomas J. Moyer................25%

* Nancy A. Fuerst................18%
Judith Ann Lanzinger............20%
William O'Neill...................21%
Terrence O'Donnell..............21%

Do you want more information? Attend the Tuesday, October 12, 2004 Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools meeting at the Holiday Inn, Zanesville where several topics will be discussed, including (1) candidates seeking state office in the November election (Paul Folmer), (2) the escalating school funding crisis in Ohio (William L. Phillis) and (3) the Governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Financing Student Success (Russ Harris). The meeting begins at 9:00 a.m. and will conclude following lunch at approximately 1:00 p.m. To register for the meeting call Lori at (740) 593-4414 or (740) 593-4445. There is a $15.00 registration fee which includes continental breakfast and lunch.

October 1, 2004- Ohio APY Second In Nation

A study by the Education Trust and National Alliance of Black School Educators found that Ohio was second in the nation with 83 percent of its public schools making Adequate Yearly Progress (APY) in reading and math scores in 2003-04. Maryland led the nation with 86 percent of their public schools achieving AYP, according to the report. View a PowerPoint on the report. Click: (Results 2004 PowerPoint)

September 30, 2004- Ohio Public Education Funding Seminar

The Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools is sponsoring a seminar on public education funding in Ohio. The program will be held at the Holiday Inn, Zanesville on Tuesday, October 12, 2004. Registration and continental breakfast will begin at 9:00 AM. The program will conclude following lunch at approximately 1:00 PM. The program will include:


Governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force

on Financing Student Success Report


Funding Ohio's Schools:

Responsibility and Opportunity


Russ Harris

Government Services, Ohio Education Association

Member of the Governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force


Three Weeks Until Election Day 2004

How can educators help elect candidates favorable to public education?


Paul Folmer

Ohioans for Educational Justice


The Escalating School Funding Crisis in Ohio

A Reality Check: What lies ahead for school funding in Ohio? What is the role of the E&A Coalition?


William L. Phillis, Executive Director

Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding

September 29, 2004- This Week In Ohio

* The Westerville City Schools superintendent, appearing on stage with President Bush in Springfield on Monday, told the President and those in attendance that schools don’t need more money to comply with the No Child Left Behind law. Some people say give us more money. That's not the answer," He said. "It's about accountability." .....Columbus Dispatch, September 28, 2004
* Several dozen Evergreen Local School District (Fulton County) students go home late each day because there aren't enough buses to take everyone home after classes. The superintendent said three buses that cover regular routes in the morning are needed in the afternoon to pick up students at special education facilities and parochial schools. "The most obvious solution," the superintendent said, "would be to add three buses, but doing so immediately would require funding and drivers not available." .....Toledo Blade, September 29, 2004

* Layoffs continue at the Cleveland City schools. Twelve administrators in the central office were mailed layoff notices this past weekend. These will be the last of 36 administrative layoffs since July. About 1,400 positions district wide have been eliminated since last spring. .....Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 28, 2004.

* The Dublin Board of Education will cut $4.25 million from next year’s budget if its levy request fails in November. "The cuts are not a threat," the school board president said. "We just don’t have other options." The contingency plan would eliminate up to 100 staff positions; restrict busing to students in kindergarten through eighth grade living 2 or more miles from their school; and increase pay-to-participate fees by 50 percent. .....Columbus Dispatch, September 29, 2004

* A judge has removed three school board members from office, ruling the Madison-Plains board members continually abused their authority to the detriment of district students. This is the first time in Ohio that a majority of a school board's members has been ordered to vacate their seats. .....Columbus, Dispatch, September 28, 2004

September 28, 2004- The Debate Is Over

According to, this past Friday Education Secretary Rod Paige declared "the debate is over" about whether the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act is working. The CNN article countered Secretary Paige's statement by saying, "In fact, the election-year debate about the law is not over." The article pointed out that critics complain that NCLB demands "enormous progress without providing enough money or cooperation from Washington." CNN went to say the co-director of a national advocacy group said Paige's rosy view of the law is "a wide divorce from reality," and that it rigidly relies on standardized tests and lacks billions of dollars in aid. Secretary Paige did acknowledge schools' struggles to meet the sweeping demands of NCLB and the greatly expanded role of the federal government in changing schools. However, he apparently offered no solutions other than to stay the course and end the debate.

September 27, 2004- Some May Forfeit REAP Money

According to AASA's On-line Newsletter, if a school district has not spent Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP) dollars from FY 02 (2002-03 school year), the district will lose the funds on September 30, 2004. AASA said there is about $2 million in unspent funds under the Rural and Small Schools Achievement Program and about $2 million under the Rural and Low-Income Schools Program that has not been used by school districts. AASA added, "Besides the loss of the funding for these districts, these unspent funds are potentially damaging to the future of REAP. The U.S. Department of Education and Congress look on these unspent dollars as reasoning that rural districts do not need REAP funding." Award letters for REAP grants for 2004-05 school year have just recently been mailed to school districts, the AASA newsletter said.

September 24, 2004- "House Parties" Focus On Education

Nearly 3,800 "house parties" were held across the U.S. on Wednesday in an attempt to restore public education as a political priority in the election year debate. "That's a big order," the Boston Globe said yesterday. "Only 5 percent of voters chose education as their most important issue in voting for president in an AP-Ipsos poll this month." According to the Globe, the purpose behind the event was to get people discussing what it will take to improve schools, but it also was promoting a solution....more money. The talking points used by "house party" hosts send a message that sweeping improvement demands greater investment in preschool, after school, school safety, teacher training, college aid, and more.

The "house parties" were part of the National Mobilization Day for Great Public Schools, organized by a coalition of several groups, including the National Education Association. The coalition is planning for more events between now and election day.

September 23, 2004- Report: U.S. Ranks Second In Percentage Of College Graduates

According to a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 38 percent of the 25 to 64 year-old population in the United States has finished at least four years of college, second only to Canada with a 43 percent completion rate. However, the U.S. college-dropout rate of 34 percent is above the 30 percent average of all 30 OECD countries and nearly six times higher than Japan's. On securing a job, the OCED report said 83 percent of college-educated adults and 75 percent of high-school graduates in the U.S. had jobs in 2002. The employment rate for those who did not finish high school dropped to 57 percent. Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's new report, "Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators 2004."

September 22, 2004- Failing To Comply With DeRolph Supreme Court Order

Jonathan Kozol, author of Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools, said that for more than a decade he has been following Ohio's struggle to change its system for paying for schools and that he remains stunned that elected leaders have failed to comply with four Ohio Supreme Court rulings that found the system unconstitutional because it relies too much on local property taxes.

* "It's the worst possible civics lesson a governor could teach children in public schools: If you don't like the decision of a court, disobey it. It's perhaps the most shameful example in the nation." ....Jonathan Kozol, Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 22, 2004


Judge William O’Neill, a candidate for the Ohio Supreme Court, said the General Assembly should be held in contempt of court for not fixing Ohio’s unconstitutional school-funding system.

* "The Supreme Court was dead wrong when they let the legislature off the hook in the school-funding case. It’s time for the court to decide whether the General Assembly is in contempt. It is my opinion that they are. To say anything less would be to join in the betrayal of the schoolchildren of Ohio." .....Judge William O'Neill, Columbus Dispatch, September 22, 2004

September 21, 2004- Gap Widening Between Rich and Poor

Nationwide, nine in 10 high school graduates from families earning more than $80,000 a year attend college by age 24, compared with just six in 10 from families earning less than $33,000. The Century Foundation, a policy institute in Washington, says at the nation's 146 most selective colleges, only 3% of students come from the lowest socioeconomic quarter, 74% come from the top quarter. Pell Grants, a federal college aid program, generally provides financial assistance to students with family incomes of $40,00 or less. Thirty years ago, the maximum Pell Grant covered 84% of the cost to attend a four-year college or university. Today, at $4050 a year, it covers 40%. Sources: The Century Foundation and USA Today

September 20, 2004- Ohio House/Senate Candidates Survey

In June 2004 the CORAS Legislative Committee mailed a survey to House and Senate candidates seeking to represent Appalachian school districts in the Ohio General Assembly. Thirty-four (34) candidates were asked to respond to specific statements about school funding and the Ohio Supreme Court DeRolph decisions. Only 10 of the 34, or 29%, returned the survey. Candidates RETURNING the survey were: HOUSE CANDIDATES: Uecker R-66, Dodd D-91, Lang D-92, Hollister R-93, Domenick D-95 and Mason D-97. SENATE CANDIDATES: Schwietering D-14, Padgett R-20, Anderson D-20 and Wilson D-30. All 10 candidates who returned the survey said the Ohio Supreme Court order in DeRolph has not been adequately addressed by the Governor and the General Assembly and that the Legislature should conduct a complete systematic overhaul of the school funding system as ordered by Court. Candidates NOT RETURNING the survey were: HOUSE CANDIDATES: Rayl D-1, Blasdel R-1, Boccieri D-61, Pope R-61, Cunningham D-85, Schlicter R-85, Horne D-86, Daniels R-86, Roberts D-87, Evans R-87, Richardson D-88, Bubp R-88, Book D-89, Holt R-89, Hood R-91, Stewart R-92, Garrison D-93, Aslanides R-94, Lanaghan R-95, Sayre D-96, Gerber R-96 and Gibbs R-97. SENATE CANDIDATES: Niehaus R-14, Amstutz R-22 and Stacy R-30.

September 17, 2004- Report: H.S. Students Better Prepared/College Too Costly

The study, "Measuring Up 2004: The National Report Card on Higher Education," said that American high school students are generally better prepared for college than a decade ago. Teachers are more qualified, and more students are taking at least one upper-level math or science course.

But, according to the report, many states are providing less financing to help students pay for college, and in many states, fewer students are enrolling. The report was particularly scathing about the high cost of college; it gave 36 states, including Ohio, failing grades on affordability. Only three states received grades better than D or F: California (B), Utah (C) and Minnesota (C-).



PDF Icon Download OHIO Report

Source: National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education

September 15, 2004- "Achievement Gap" Lowers U.S. Global Standing

According to a new comparison of 30 industrialized nations by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States ranked 1st among the adults ages 45 to 64 having earned their high-school diplomas. Among 25 to 34 year-olds, the U.S. ranked only 10th in high school graduation rates. By contrast, Korea ranks 24th for 55-64-year-olds, but 1st for 25-34-year-olds. The OECD report said, "The rates have not declined in the United States. They have simply risen faster in other countries." The huge difference between high-performing and low-performing students in the United States [the achievement gap] has brought down the United States' global standing as measured by the quality of education outcome, according to the OECD Director for Education. Read the briefing notes on U.S. data. Click: United States Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's new report, "Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators 2004."

September 14, 2004- Universities, CORAS Form Math/Science Partnership

The South East Ohio Center of Excellence for Mathematics and Science (SEO-CEMS) was approved to begin formal activities the spring of 2004. The program is funded by the Ohio Board of Regents for $250,000 per year guaranteed for two-years. SEO-CEMS is designed to function with a regional focus, but is part of a statewide system for improving mathematics and science literacy P-16, including initial preparation and career-long professional development of mathematics and science teachers. SEO-CEMS is a partnership among the school membership of the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools (CORAS) and faculty and administrators of Ohio University, Shawnee State University, University of Rio Grande. The SEO-CEMS service area compliments the CORAS service region (Appalachian counties). SEO-CEMS is led by a leadership team of Ralph Martin, Ohio University Department of Education and Jeff Connor, chair-elect of the Ohio University Department of Mathematics. Dr. Connor is replacing Barbara Glover, Ohio University Department of Mathematics, who is retiring. Al Cote is Center Director and there are three Associate Directors: Bonnie Beach, Ohio University Associate Dean, College of Education (mathematics), Bobbie Hatfield, University of Rio Grande, Interim Dean and faculty in mathematics, and Michael Fiske, Shawnee State University, chair of mathematics. Future SEO-CEMS activities, information and updates will be shared with CORAS members.

September 13, 2004- In The News

* Michigan teachers on average take home nearly $10,000 more than their Ohio counterparts. The average teacher salary in Michigan was $54,020 for the 2002-03 school year. ....Toledo Blade

* Currently, more than half (52 percent) of all U.S. public school students live in states that require that they eventually pass high school exit exams to graduate. By 2009, that percentage will increase to about 70 percent. ....Education Week * Tomorrow (September 14), at its regular monthly meeting, the State Board of Education plans to adopt a policy regarding harassment and bullying in schools. The Board is responding to recently introduced House Bill 530 and Senate Bill 210. ....ODE Website * The U.S. Agency for International Development has renovated more than 2,000 of Iraq's nearly 15,000 school buildings and distributed more than 8 million textbooks. ....USA Today

September 10, 2004- Student Incentives

The Kansas City, Missouri school district paid just over $1 million in bonuses to some 13,000 summer school students. Those earning grades of C or higher in all subjects received $75. The district also paid attendance incentives of $50, $65, and $75 for a full-day student who missed two days, missed one day, or had perfect attendance. .....Education Week, September 1, 2004

September 9, 2004- Low-Income Students And Rising College Costs

A 2003 study by the College Board found that average tuition and fees have increased 47 percent in the past decade. The study said, "If those tuition increases continue, foundation officials estimate that by 2010 about 4.4 million low-income college-ready students will not be able to attend college." Currently, according to the report, out of every 100 students in Ohio, 70 graduate from high school on time; 39 directly enter college; 28 are still enrolled their sophomore year; and 17 graduate within 6 years. In addition, the report said 24.2 percent of Ohio's population 25-44 held a bachelor's degree or higher in year 2000.

Source: "COLLISION COURSE: Rising Costs threaten America's future and require shared solutions", A policy brief from Lumina Foundation for Education

To read the report, Click: "Collision Course: Rising College costs Threaten America's Future,"

September 8, 2004- Federal Funding Declines

A National Center for Education Statistics report says the federal share of funding support for elementary and secondary schools in the U. S. declined from 12 percent in FY 1980 to 10 percent in FY 2003. During the same period the federal share to post secondary institutions has increased from 18 percent to 19 percent.

Read Publication: Click: "Federal Support for Education: Fiscal Years 1980 to 2003,"

September 7, 2004- School Funding Initiative

According to today's Columbus Dispatch, former state representative Bryan Flannery is circulating a petition to secure a constitutional method of financing public education that doesn’t rely on property taxes. The Flannery website says the proposal would establish a commission, which will define what it costs to educate a child. The state will reduce property taxes $1.7 billion statewide, and make up the school funding difference without increasing the rate of income, sales or property taxes. The state will ensure that no district will suffer a loss from the tax cuts. There will be an end to local campaigns for school operating levies. The Flannery web site lists six possible ways to pay for the $1.7 billion property tax cut.

(1) Close sales tax loopholes for professional services, for annual savings of $500 million to $2 billion.

(2) Eliminate the property tax rollback, without increasing the property tax burden on any individual, for estimated annual savings for the state of $1.5 billion or more.

(3) Provide gambling in Ohio, for estimated income $.5 to .8 billion to the state.

(4) Reform Medicare over-billing, which the Buckeye Institute estimates will save $1.5 billion for the state in the first year alone, and $100 billion by the year 2025.

(5) Require that a percentage of STAR Ohio monies be invested in Ohio, which the Flannery proposal does, for up to a $500 million annual revenue increase for the state from improved local economies.

(6) Additional savings in the education budget from the tax cut of $200-300 million.

According to the Dispatch, Flannery hopes to present his signed petition to the legislature in January. If the General Assembly fails to enact it within four months, he would secure signatures required to place it on the ballot in November 2005.

Read the Flannery proposal. Click:

September 3, 2004- Teachers Salaries Moving Backward

According to an Economic Policy Institute (EPI) report, teachers’ wages have slipped behind other workers with similar education and experience by nearly 15 percent since 1993, after adjusting for inflation. In 2003, teachers earned an average of $833 in gross pay a week, compared with $1,078 for other college graduates. The authors of the EPI report said, "Although teachers tend to receive greater benefits, such as health insurance and pensions, those extras are not valuable enough to make up for the differences in wages." In a related report, the Educational Research Service’s (ERS), National Survey of Salaries and Wages in Public Schools , showed the mean of classroom teachers’ average salaries in unadjusted dollars rose from $36,531 in 1993-94 to $45,646 in 2003-04. After factoring in cost-of-living increases, however, the average teacher salary actually fell by $871, or 1.87 percent during the past decade, according to the ERS.

Sources: Economic Policy Institute and Educational Research Service

September 2, 2004- Why Do Parents Home-School Their Children?

Almost 1.1 million students were home-schooled in the United States last year, up from 850,00 in 1999. Why do parents home-school their children? According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, parents responded to this question as follows: 31% said they are concerned about school environment. 30% said they want to provide religious/moral instruction. 16% said they are dissatisfied with academic teaching. 7% said they have a child with mental/physical health problem. 7% said they have a child with other special needs. Sources: National Center for Educational Statistics and USA Today

September 1, 2004- SATs To Change/Ohio Scores Improve

Changes are coming for the Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT) in March 2005. A College Board web site said, "The new SAT will improve the alignment of the test with current curriculum and institutional practices in high school and college." The new test will have three sections instead of two, and 2400 will be the maximum score, up from the current 1600. The three sections will include: * Writing: This new 60-minute section includes multiple-choice questions on grammar and writing. There will also be a 25-minute timed essay, in which students must evaluate and respond to either a pair of quotations or a short paragraph drawn from a text. * Math: Algebra II-level content will be added and quantitative comparisons eliminated. The math section is 70 minutes and includes 44 multiple-choice questions and 10 with student-produced responses. * Critical reading: Formerly called verbal, this 70-minute section includes 48 reading-comprehension questions concerning passages 100 to 850 words long, and 19 sentence-completion questions. Meanwhile, according to results released yesterday by the College Board’s Advanced Placement Program, Ohio students scored above the national average this year on the Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT). The average score for Ohio students on the SAT verbal test was 538, compared to a national average of 508. Ohio's average was 542 on the math test, compared to 518 nationally. The average for Ohio students increased two points on the verbal test and one point on math over last year. The 2004 national average SAT scores increased one point in verbal and decreased one point in math compared to 2003. Sources: College for Students and Ohio Department of Education

August 31, 2004- U.S. Cutting Back Data About Charter Schools

According to the New York Times, the U. S. Department of Education is "sharply cutting back on the information it collects about charter schools for a periodic report that provides a detailed national profile of public, private and charter schools." The federal report, known as the Schools and Staffing Survey, provides information about charter schools, including the location and number of such schools, their share of low-income students, the qualifications of principals and teachers and the ratio of teachers to students. In the future, the National Center for Education Statistics, which conducts the survey, will cover only a random sample of about 300 charter schools. The sample will include only 10% of the 3000 charter schools in the United States. The New York Times said confirmation of the change came August 25, 2004 from a spokeswoman for the U. S. Education Department, just one week after the Times reported that the first national comparison of test scores showed students in charter schools largely trailing comparable students in traditional public schools. The article said a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Education wrote, "There is nothing sinister or untoward about this. We are absolutely not cutting back on collecting information on charter schools." Read the article from The New York Times (requires free registration):. Click: U.S. Cutting Back On Details In Data About Charter Schools

August 30, 2004- Politics and Public Education

According to Education Week Web Extra, the Republican Party platform will attempt to rebut criticisms of the No Child Left Behind law. The Web Extra reported that a Republican platform draft says, “Republicans have transformed the debate on education. We are the party parents can trust to improve schools and provide opportunity for all children, in every neighborhood, regardless of background or income. We are the party willing to embrace new ideas and put them to the test.” The National Education Association (NEA), with 2.7 million members, counters this claim. The NEA said, "The No Child Left Behind Act presents real obstacles to helping students and strengthening public schools because it focuses on punishments rather than assistance, mandates rather than support for effective programs and privatization rather than teacher-led, family-oriented solutions. Meanwhile, a recent Gallup/Phi Delta Kappa poll found that a greater percentage of people in the U. S. believe the Democratic Party is more interested than the Republican Party in improving public education.

August 27, 2004- Phi Delta Kappa Poll On School Attitudes

The Gallup Organization and Phi Delta Kappa International conducted the annual poll on school attitudes focused on No Child Left Behind. Slightly more than half of those polled said the law will improve student achievement in their schools. But people had mixed or even contradictory views about testing, vouchers and other education topics.

Among the findings of the poll:

* At least two in three adults oppose the way test scores in reading and math are used to judge school performance under federal law. Yet almost as many people said schools give the right emphasis to tests or don’t emphasize them enough.
* A majority said the test scores of disabled children should not be counted in determining whether a school made enough progress to satisfy the federal law.
* Most of those polled opposed reporting test scores for all major groups of students, such as poor, minority, disabled or limited-English students. Yet it is those scores that reveal the achievement gap, the same problem deemed important by most of those polled.
* Overall, 68 percent of people said they knew nothing or very little about the No Child Left Behind law, and 55 percent said they didn’t know enough to form an opinion of it. Those numbers of uninformed people, although high, did drop since 2003.
* Private-school vouchers continue to lack majority support. Asked if they favor or oppose allowing students and parents to choose a private school to attend at public expense, 54 percent opposed the idea; 42 percent favored it.
* 47 percent of people said they would give public schools in their community an A or a B. Only 26 percent said they would give those grades to the nation’s schools.

* 21 percent said lack of money is the biggest problem their schools face. That was the most common answer, with lack of school discipline and school overcrowding coming in next.

* 42 percent said the Democratic Party is more interested than the Republican Party in improving public education; 35 percent gave the edge to the Republican Party, which has gained ground on that issue since 1996, when 27 percent said the GOP was more interested.

The results of the poll are based on a random phone survey of 1,003 adults in May and June 2004. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

To read the Phi Delta Kappa report, click: 36TH ANNUAL PDK/GALLUP POLL

August 26, 2004- State Ratings For Appalachian Districts

How do school districts ratings in the 29 Appalachian counties compare with the rest of the state? Check the data below? Ratings for Ohio Districts (608 School Districts) 117 Excellent 229 Effective 224 Continuous Improvement 34 Academic Watch 4 Academic Emergency

There are 126 school districts in the 29 Ohio Appalachian counties.

Ratings for Appalachian Districts (126 School Districts)

9 Excellent rating

40 Effective

71 Continuous Improvement

6 Academic Watch

0 Academic Emergency

The nine Ohio Appalachian school districts receiving an Excellent rating w ere: New Philadelphia City (Tuscarawas), Fairland Local (Lawrence), Milford Exempted Village (Clermont), Dawson-Bryant Local (Lawrence), Northern Local (Perry), Wheelersburg Local (Scioto), Garaway Local (Tuscarawas), Columbiana Exempted Village (Columbiana) and Steubenville City (Jefferson).

How do Ohio Appalachian School Districts compare, by percentage in each category, to all school districts in Ohio and to the non-Appalachian Ohio school Districts in 2003-04?

  All Ohio Districts Appalachian Districts Non-Appalachian Districts
  (608 Districts) (126 Districts) (482 Districts)
Excellent (17-18) 19.2% (117) 7.1% (9) 22.4% (108)
Effective (14-16) 37.7% (229) 31.8% (40) 39.2% (189)
Continuous Improvement (9-13) 36.8% (224) 56.3% (71) 31.8% (153)
Academic Watch (6-8) 5.6% (34) 4.8% (6) 5.8% (28)
Academic Emergency (0-5) 0.7% (4) 0.0% (0) 0.8% (4)


Other rating factors in 2003-04 included Adequate Yearly Progress, State Indicators and Performance Index Score.


Want to compare these results with last year?

Here are the percentages for 2002-03.

  All Ohio Districts Appalachian Districts Non-Appalachian Districts
  (608 Districts) (126 Districts) (482 Districts)
Excellent (21-22) 14,0% (85) 1.6% (2) 17.2% (83)
Effective (17-20) 29.1% (177) 18.3% (23) 32.0% (154)
Continuous Improvement (11-16) 45.7% (278) 61.1% (77) 41.7% (271)
Academic Watch (7-10) 8.6% (52) 16.6% (21) 6.4% (31)
Academic Emergency (0-6) 2.6% (16) 2.4% (3) 2.7% (13)

August 25, 2004- "What Works Clearinghouse:

The new education research service, What Works Clearinghouse, began operation in mid-July. The clearinghouse analyzes research on programs and strategies and publishes the results on a Web site where practitioners and policymakers can easily find them. During its first month of operation, What Works Clearinghouse, administered by the U.S. Department of Education, has received mixed reviews from one key group: the researchers whose work it features. Education Week said, "While a few among that small group of scholars are happy to see their work reaching a wider audience, some also express concerns about the way it is being presented. They say reviewers are misinterpreting and pigeonholing their studies and sometimes inadvertently casting aspersions on potentially useful research." Read the EW article. Click: Researchers Question Clearinghouse Choices To gain access to the What Works Clearinghouse Website, Click: What Works Clearinghouse or go to

August 24, 2004- Report Card Results

The Ohio Department of Education has announced the results of the 2003-04 Local District Report Cards. A summary of the results follows.
School Districts
District Ratings
2002-03 2003-04
Excellent..................................... 85 117
Effective................................... 177 229
Continuous Improvement........ 278 224
Academic Watch........................ 52 34
Academic Emergency................. 16 4
School Ratings
2002-03 2003-04
Excellent..................................... 630 920
Effective.................................... 771 906
Continuous Improvement........ 1242 1211
Academic Watch........................ 237 125
Academic Emergency................ 338 222
Overall, 107 of the 608 school districts that get a report card moved up a classification, while 29 districts dropped. Source: Ohio Department of Education, Columbus Dispatch and Gannett News Service

August 23, 2004- Study Focuses On High school Exit Exams

The study on high school exit exams, State High School Exit Exams: A Maturing Reform, released August 18, 2004 by the Center on Education Policy (CEP), found that 20 of the 50 states now require high school exit exams and five more states will by 2009. An Associated Press article said the study revealed that many high school graduation tests do not measure whether students are ready for college or work, and some states haven't even made clear what the purpose of their test is. According to the study, Ohio continues to struggle with how to maintain high standards but also achieve high passing rates. The report said, "Although the state [Ohio] has established alternative criteria for students very close to passing the exam, proposals have been floated to develop an appeals process or allow students to substitute test scores from other exams. Additionally, a state task force has suggested replacing the exam with end-of-course exams, though a similar proposal was already rejected by the legislature." The study found that Ohio currently has no provision for alternate assessment, substitute assessment or alternate diploma. Many states provide students with at least one of these options, according to the report. Ohio does, however, offer re-testing and waivers. The report went on to say, "This year, opposition to exit exams has continued in Florida, Massachusetts, and New York, where passing exit exams is already a graduation requirement. Dissent has also been growing in several states, including Maryland, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, states that have either recently enforced graduation consequences for their exams or soon plan to do so."

The passing scores for the Ohio Graduation Test (math and reading tests) adopted by the Ohio state board of education in June 2004 are:

READING Cut Score (Out of 48 points) Percent of Total Points

Limited --- ---

Basic 13.5 28%

Proficient 20.0 42%

Accelerated 31.5 66%

Advanced 39.0 81%

MATHEMATICS Cut Score (Out of 46 points) Percent of Total Points

Limited --- ---

Basic 13.5 29%

Proficient 19.0 41%

Accelerated 30.0 65%

Advanced 37.5 82%

To read the full report, Click: Then Click: PFD after full report under, What's New , State High School Exit Exams: A Maturing Reform. The Ohio profile is on page 224.

If there are questions or concerns about the new Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) contact Stan Heffner at the Ohio Department of Education, 1-614-995-4839.

August 20, 2004- In The News

* Nearly 54 million students across the United States will enroll in kindergarten through 12th grade this fall. ...Newark Advocate * The annual report card on school districts will be released by the Ohio Department of Education on Tuesday, August 24th. Schools will be rated in 18 categories this year. 22 categories were included last year. ...Columbus Dispatch * Tutoring for elementary, middle school and high school students is on the rise. Some commercial learning centers are even offering pre-kindergarten programs. In 2003, tutoring was a $4 billion business, with the market expected to be $4.56 billion this year and $5.2 billion in 2005. ...Cincinnati Enquirer * The national average composite score for the ACT college entrance exam increased this year for the first time in seven years. The average score rose a statistically significant one-tenth of a point for 2004 high school graduates, to 20.9 on a scale of 1 through 36. It was 20.8 for each of the past two years. The average score was 21.0 for five consecutive years ending in 2001. Nearly 1.2 million 2004 high school graduates, or about 40% nationwide, took the test. Ohio's overall score remained unchanged at 21.4. ...USA Today and Cincinnati Enquirer * In Hernando County (Florida) schools just 6 children, of about 7,000 who were eligible, took advantage of the NCLB rules that allow them to switch schools if the school they originally attended failed to make "adequate yearly progress" in the same category (reading, math or writing) for two consecutive years. ...St. Petersburg Times * A state appeals court dealt a blow to Florida's landmark voucher program Monday, striking down the 1999 law that allows students from failing schools to attend private schools using taxpayer money. ...Miami Herald

August 19, 2004- More On Charter Schools

Yesterday's CORAS email summarized Monday's New York Times article that said the National Assessment of Educational Progress (N.A.E.P.) presented data showing children in charter schools often had lower test scores than comparable students in traditional public schools.

U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige, reacting to the N.A.E.P. findings, issued a statement Tuesday saying he stood by charter schools and challenged the conclusion of recent test data that their performance largely trailed that of regular public schools. The Chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board responded by saying, "The data is probably what it is. N.A.E.P. is pretty accurate. There shouldn't be any question about the results.''

The Toledo Blade reported today that the Ohio Federation of Teachers, after analyzing data from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), found that 60 percent of charter schools in Ohio that received a rating from ODE were ranked in academic emergency, the lowest achievement category that can be assigned to school districts and buildings.

About 190 charter schools operate in Ohio. Last year, they received a total of $290 million from the state, according to an Ohio Department of Education spokesman, the Blade reported. In addition, the NY Times said. "The Bush administration has strongly supported charters, running a special Web site promoting them and earmarking about $220 million for them this year."

August 18, 2004- Nation's Charter Schools Lagging Behind

The first national comparison of test scores among children in charter schools and regular public schools shows charter school students doing worse than comparable students in traditional public schools. The New York Times said the findings, buried in mountains of data the U.S. Department of Education released without public announcement, has dealt a blow to supporters of the charter school movement. The results, based on the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), were unearthed from online data by researchers at the American Federation of Teachers. According to the NY Times, NAEP has historically supported charter schools but has produced research in recent years raising doubts about the expansion of charter schools. Read the New York Times article. Click: Nation's Charter Schools Lagging Behind, U.S. Test Scores Reveal (requires free registration)

August 17, 2004- Ohio Graduation Tests

The Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) will replace the Ohio Ninth Grade Proficiency Test as Ohio's high-school exit exam beginning with the class of 2007 (this year's sophomores). According to an Ohio Department of Education official, the OGT exam is about two grade levels more difficult than the ninth-grade proficiency test.

In May 2004 the Dayton Daily News ran a series, Flunking the Tests. The newspaper examined the Ohio Graduation Test in detail. According to the Daily News report, the results showed that more than three out of four sophomores statewide failed a trial version of the OGT's math exam in 2003; even after the Ohio Department of Education shortened the test and lowered the passing score to 41 percent, nearly a third still failed this year. All five subject areas of the exam will be given to sophomores in March 2005.

August 16, 2004- Wanted: Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers are projected to remain in high demand as the number of students needing special services continue to rise. There were 433,000 special education teachers on the job in the United States in 2002. The Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Department of Education project that 584,000 special education teachers will be needed by the year 2012, a 35% increase. Nearly one-third of the more than 300 job openings listed on the Ohio Department of Education’s teacher employment web site are special education positions, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

August 13, 2004- Raise Public Education As An Election Issue

A coalition of organizations, led by the National Education Association, introduced a campaign on Wednesday to mobilize opposition to the No Child Left Behind law, to demand more money for public schools and to raise the profile of public education as an election issue. The campaign, called the National Mobilization for Great Public Schools, said Americans favor expanding pre-schools, smaller class sizes, better training and pay for teachers and strong after-school programs. The campaign wants to make sure these issues "gets mobilized and addressed in the larger policy debate." Read article in New York Times (requires free registration): Click: Election Issue Of Education Is Promoted For more information, click:

August 12, 2004- School Bus Transportation

Every year, 440,000 public school buses travel 4.3 billion miles to transport 23.5 million students to from school and school-related activities in the United States, according to the National School Transportation Association.

August 11, 2004- Texas "Robin Hood" On Trial

The Texas school finance system went on trial Monday as lawyers argued that the system's dependence on local property taxes is flawed and unconstitutional. Texas' education funding system is nicknamed "Robin Hood" because it takes money from rich schools and gives it to poorer ones. School districts have turned to the courts after struggling for years to get the changes they wanted from the Legislature. The Plaintiff's say the system amounts to an unconstitutional statewide property tax.

August 10, 2004 School Lunch Porgram

The Associated Press reported today that rising food, labor and transportation costs have forced schools nationwide to increase the price of breakfast and lunch, in some cases for the first time in more than a decade and by as much as $1.00. AP said that typical annual food inflation is about 3 percent. However, dairy prices in June 2004 were up 27 percent from a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Meat and cheese were up 11 percent, and poultry 9 percent. According to the report, the increases will not affect the nearly 17 million children who get free or reduced price lunches. Free and reduced price lunches accounted for more than half of the 29 million children served by the National School Lunch Program during the 2003-04 school year.

August 6, 2004- High-Quality Preschool Teachers

In a report issued in July 2004, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) said, "Exemplary (or high-quality) teacher preparation is necessary for all early childhood educators. Every child from birth to 3 years deserves a teacher with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. Every child between 4 and 8 years of age deserves a teacher with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, and certification in the early childhood field.
Public preschool.........................87%
For-profit programs.................39%
Head Start..................................30%

The AACTE president is calling for greater public investment in early childhood education. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 35% of public elementary schools in the United States offered per-kindergarten classes last year. Private programs and Head Start took up much of the slack.

Read the AACTE report. Click: The Early Childhood Challenge: Preparing High Quality Teachers for a Changing Society
Sources: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, National Center for Education Statistics and USA Today.

August 5, 2004- School Elections Results

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) website reported that only 26 of 103 school ballot issues passed in the August 3rd election, resulting in a 25.24% passage rate. Yesterday, according to an E & A Coalition email, only 14 of the 90 school issues (15.5%) asking for new money were successful.

Click below to view ODE August elections data.

Results by District

  • 5-Year History

  • Last Five August Elections

  • Close Issues

  • JVS Results

  • Income Tax Results

    August 5, 2004- Teacher Candidates File Suit Against ETS

    The Associated Press reported today that two teacher candidates, one from Ohio and the other from Louisiana, filed a lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court claiming that Educational Testing Service (ETS) violates federal antitrust laws. According to the complaint, ETS, based in Princeton, N.J., is the only company that administers the test of teaching skills and general knowledge that prospective educators must pass to get a teachers license. The lawsuit seeks to stop the alleged monopoly abuse, and the teachers are asking for unspecified monetary damages. The Plaintiffs are asking the Judge to certify the suit as a class action representing about 4,100 people in 19 states affected by incorrect grading. At least four other lawsuits have been filed against ETS over test grading mistakes, but this suit is the first to make the monopoly argument, according to the attorney representing the two teacher candidates.

    August 4, 2004- Home-Schooling Increasing

    Almost 1.1 million students were home-schooled in the United States last year. The estimated number of students taught at home has grown 29 percent since 1999, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The 1.1 million home-schooled students accounts for 2.2 percent of the school-age population (aged 5 through 17) in the nation.Almost 1.1 million students were home-schooled in the United States last year. The estimated number of students taught at home has grown 29 percent since 1999, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The 1.1 million home-schooled students accounts for 2.2 percent of the school-age population (aged 5 through 17) in the nation.

    The Associated Press reported that parent surveys offered two main reasons for choosing home-schooling: 31 percent cited concerns about the environment of regular schools, and 30 percent wanted the flexibility to teach religious or moral lessons. Third, at 16 percent, was dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools.

    August 4, 2004- School Ballot Issues

    According election results posted on 10 WBNS-TV website, over 70 percent of the school issues on the August 3rd ballot failed. The website showed over 70 of the 103 school issues as not passing. These results were hand counted from the website and are therefore strictly unofficial. But it would appear that yesterday was not a very good day at the polls for Ohio schools. More official results should be available later today.

    August 3, 2004- Left Behind In Ohio

    A new website, Left Behind in Ohio, was launched last week by Communities for Quality Education, a newly formed lobbying group. The website provides information/data from Ohio school districts relating to the under-funding of the No Child Left Behind law, state funding cutbacks, the number of teachers laid off, school levies on ballot today, and decreases in per pupil spending. To visit the web site, click:

    August 2, 2004- News Briefs

    * Jennifer Stewart, representing more than a third (11) of the Ohio Appalachian counties on the State Board of Education, has been elected to the National Association of State Boards of Education’s (NASBE) board of directors. She will begin her two-year term in January 2005. Mrs. Stewart has attended many CORAS meetings since her election to the state board.

    * Nationally, the number of year-round schools grew 680 percent from 1987 to 2003, from 408 in 14 states to 3,181 in 46 states, according to the National Association for Year-Round Education. About 2.3 million students were in year-round schools last year.

    * It was announced in July that Ted Sanders, former Superintendent of Public Instruction in Ohio, has resigned as the president of the Education Commission of the States effective in January 2005.

    * Special Note: Mark Tuesday, September 14, 2004 on your calendar. CORAS will sponsor the program, Ohio School Funding Learning Maps, presented by Ohio Public School Dialogue and Edventures, Inc. The meeting will be held at the Olde Dutch Restaurant in Logan. Registration materials will be mailed to CORAS members in mid-August.

    July 30, 2004- "There's no justification...."

    "There's no justification for factories down the street from a school resulting in students having more resources, teachers getting more rewards and taxpayers having less of a burden. Unfortunately, that's what happens in the unfair system that currently exists." ...editorial in the Lancaster Eagle Gazette, July 29, 2004

    July 29, 2004- Education Pays

    During the past 20 years, those with the most education have had the fastest growth in wages. Chart shows 20 year increase in median annual income.
    1982 2002
    Less than high school.......... $9,387 $18,826
    High school diploma............. $12,560 $27,280
    College degree................... $20,272 $51,194
    Advanced degree................ $26,915 $72,824

    According to USA Today, in the past 20 years the median income for someone with only a high school diploma has risen just 16% in inflation-adjusted dollars, compared with 45% for those with a post-graduate degree.

    Source: U.S. Census Bureau and USA Today

    July 28, 2004- Education And Economic Development

    A report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a Washington think tank, says providing adequate funding for schools is the most effective way for states to grow economically. The report, "Smart Money: Educational and Economic Development," examined nearly 180 studies on the connections between education investment and economic development. William Schweke, research director for the Corporation for Enterprise Development and author of the report said, "A compelling body of research links primary and secondary education to economic development and growth. Education increases workers' average earnings and productivity, and it also reduces the incidence of social problems such as drug abuse, crime, welfare dependency, and lack of access to medical care, all of which can weigh heavily on the economy. The research confirms the value of investing in educational programs, particularly in the areas of pre-school, primary and secondary education and community colleges." The EPI report says that state and local governments often cut education funding while offering tax incentives to companies to jump-start their local economies. But the report suggests that education cuts hurt local economies. Read the executive summary. Click: "Smart Money: Education and Economic Development"

    July 27, 2004- Around The Statehouse

    * House Bill 532, which would change the method for computing the school foundation formula charge-off, was introduced in the Ohio House on July 22, 2004. The bill is sponsored by State Representative Jon Peterson, (R-Delaware). To read the bill as introduced, click: * On July 13, 2004, State Representative James Trakas (R-Independence) introduced House Bill 526. The bill, if approved, would grant boards of education limited authority to levy additional, voter-approved property taxes that are not subject to the "HB 920" revenue growth limitation, to permit school boards to apply school district income taxes only to earnings, to prospectively limit the total rate of school district income taxes to 1%, and reauthorizes joint municipal-school district income taxes. To read the bill as introduced, click: Read related editorial from the July 19, 2004 Columbus Dispatch. Click: Lee Leonard: Suburban legislators toss another log onto the school-funding fire

    July 26, 2004- Fact Sheet On Unexpended Education Funds

    In recent weeks the federal government has been trying to convince the public that sufficient federal funds are being provided for No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and other federal education programs. The governments rationale is that states have not spent the education funds that Congress has already provided. The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) says, not so. The following is reprinted from The AASA Legislative Corps Weekly Report, July 24, 2004. FACT SHEET ON UNEXPENDED EDUCATION FUNDS
    Once again the Bush Administration and House Republicans are trying to mislead Americans about the insufficient funding they have provided for key education programs such as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and vocational education. The Republican rationale for their shortfall rests largely on an inaccurate charge that states have not spent the education funds that Congress has already provided. In addition to being flat out wrong, this charge is disingenuous for the following reasons:
    2003 End-of-Year Balances
    Agency Un-obligated Funds(in billions of dollars)
    Defense 52.2
    Transportation 9.3
    Agriculture 8.2
    Homeland Security 7.7
    Education 4.9
    Veterans Affairs 4.3
    Unexpended funds are not unusual for federal agencies. According to an OMB list of un-obligated balances, the Department of Education - with $4.9 billion - is not alone. Even the Bush White House still has $330 million, and the GOP-led Legislative Branch has yet to spend $1.5 billion. In fact, every federal agency or organization listed by OMB has some un-obligated funds. States are following the timeframe allowed by law. Federal law allows states 27 months to obligate most federal K-12 education dollars, and up to 48 months after that to actually pay bills. This allows for long-term planning and takes into account the fact that states are prohibited from spending funds until after the Department of Education has issued regulations for the operation of each program. The Department of Education has been slow in issuing NLCB regulations, hampering the ability of states local school districts to spend funds. States don't get lump-sum payments from the government; they get reimbursed - usually on a monthly basis - for costs they have already incurred for teacher salaries, school books, etc. States pay-as-they-go, so necessary money for expenses such as teacher salaries often sit in their accounts for many months before the checks are actually written. The Republican calculations are misleading because they are blending two issues: (1) obligated funds that have not yet been spent - but will be, and (2) funds that are cancelled and returned to the Treasury. The fact is that very little of the money Congress allocates for education goes unspent. For FY98, only about one-half of one percent (0.5%) of education funds were returned to the Treasury. In other words, 99.5 percent of the money Congress allocated to education was spent. This was $155 million dollars (of $30 billion) - a far cry from the $5.75 billion that the Republicans say states are now "sitting on." In fact, Administration data indicate that states actually are spending K-12 education funds slightly faster than expected. The Administration is using a bookkeeping gimmick to justify billions of dollars in education under-funding. Counting unexpended balances as available money is no different than counting all the money in your checkbook on payday - money committed to mortgages, rent, food, medical care, and clothing - as un-obligated. President Bush has consistently failed to invest in education by: - Under-funding NCLB by $9.4 billion next year, for a total funding shortfall of $27 billion; - Failing to even put us on the path to fully funding special education; and
    - Proposing to cut vocational education programs by more than $300 million.

    July 23, 2004- Ohio Lottery Profits

    Recently the State of Ohio announced there was an extra $10 million in lottery profits available for schools in FY 2004. According to the Ohio School Boards Association, a news release left the impression this was going to be a "shot-in-the-arm" for school districts. OSBA said the "extra" lottery profits provides just 3 cents per day for each of Ohio's 1.8 million school children.

    July 22, 2004- Meeting NCLB Requirements

    According to the Education Commission of the States, 48 states have met or are partially on track to meeting 75% of the No Child Left Behind requirements — a 109% increase over 2003. All 50 states have met or are "partially on track" to meeting half of the 40 requirements. Five states — Connecticut, Kentucky, New York, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania — have met or are partially on track to meeting all 40.

    July 21, 2004- No Federal Mandates???

    On May 12th the General Accounting Office concluded that the No Child Left Behind Act is "not a mandated financial burden on states." Now, a U.S. Department of Education website says federal education mandates do not exist at all. The following statement is included as one of the 10 Facts About K-12 Education Funding listed on a U.S. government website.

    "There are no federal education "mandates. Every federal education law is conditioned on a state's decision to accept federal program funds. Despite the occasional use of the term "mandate" when discussing federal program obligations, there is no federal "mandate" to do anything in local schools. All obligations are conditions placed on the receipt of federal funds. Any state that does not want to abide by these requirements need not accept the federal grant money. While most states choose to use the federal funds, a few states in the past have forgone federal funds for various reasons."

    July 20, 2004- Educators Standards Board

    The State Board of Education appointed 17 members to the Educator Standards Board at its meeting on Tuesday, July 13. The Educator Standards Board will develop state standards for teachers and principals at all stages of their careers; formulate standards for educator professional development; and recommend policies to close achievement gaps among groups of students.

    The following individuals (listed with their place of employment and city of residence) will serve on the board: Shawn Jackson, public school teacher, Yellow Springs Exempted Village School District, South Charleston;
  • * Jayne Burger, public school teacher, Gallipolis City School District, Gallipolis;
  • Julia Simmerer, public school teacher, Brunswick City School District, Medina;
  • Mary Villarreal, public school teacher, Fairfield City School District, Liberty Township;
  • Mary Sebenoler, public school teacher, Columbus Public School District, Westerville;
  • William Shriver, public school teacher, Mount Vernon City School District, Mount Vernon;
  • Della Goodwin-Sebron, public school teacher, Cincinnati Public School District, Cincinnati;
  • Eric Eye, public school teacher, Jackson Milton Local School District, Berlin Center;
  • Kathleen Costello, chartered nonpublic school teacher, Diocese of Columbus, Holy Spirit School, Columbus;
  • David Axner, school administrator, Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School District, Solon;
  • Jay Parks, school administrator, Linwood Academy, Cincinnati;
  • Douglas Lowery, school administrator, Hilliard Memorial Middle School, Grove City;
  • Maureen Yoder, school administrator, Bellefontaine High School, Bellefontaine;
  • James Uphoff, school board member, Wright State University, Dayton;
  • * Sue DeWine, higher education, Marietta College, Marietta;
  • Lawrence Johnson, higher education, University of Cincinnati, Loveland;
  • Karen Wells, higher education, Lorain County Community College, Lorain * From the Ohio Appalachian Region Source: Reprinted from the Ohio Department of Education web site.

    July 19, 2004- CORAS Announces Fall Meeting Dates

    The Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools first two meetings of the 2004-05 school year will be held on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 and Tuesday, October 12, 2004. The September 14th meeting will be held at the Olde Dutch Restaurant in Logan. The site of the October 12th meeting has not yet been determined. The focus of both meetings will be on developing better community understanding of school funding in Ohio, the escalating school funding crisis facing Ohio schools and the November 2004 state elections. The program agenda and registration materials for the September meeting will be mailed to CORAS members in mid-August. MARK THESE DATES ON YOUR CALENDAR TODAY! REMINDER: CORAS is conducting its membership drive for the 2004-05 school year. Invoices for membership dues were mailed to schools in mid-June. The 2004-05 membership goal is 140. CORAS currently has 134 member school districts and other educational institutions. Support public education and school children in rural Appalachia Ohio. JOIN CORAS TODAY!

    July 16, 2004- Teachers Salaries/Health Insurance Costs

    A survey by the American Federation of Teachers found the average teacher salary in the United States in 2002-03 was $45,771, up 3.3 percent from 2001-02. California ($55,693), Michigan ($54,020), Connecticut ($53,962) and New Jersey ($53,872) had the nation's highest average salaries in 2002-03. States at the bottom were South Dakota ($32,414), Oklahoma ($33,277), North Dakota ($33,869) and Mississippi ($35,135). Ohio's average teachers salary of $45,515 ranked 15th among the states in 2002-03. This represented a 2.8 percent increase over the previous year. Ohio ranked 27th in average beginning teachers salary for the 2003-04 school year. Ohio's average for beginning teachers was $29,790. The U.S. average beginning teachers salary was $30,496.

    While salaries made slight gains, the cost of health insurance benefits increased an astounding 13 percent, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

    Click below to view how the states ranked: 2002-03 average teachers salary Table I 2003-04 average beginning teachers salary Table II

    July 15, 2004- Redirecting Tax Revenues To Poor Schools

    Most Americans say they support redirecting tax revenues to schools in poorer areas to bring greater equity to students, a nationwide survey has found. The poll, "The Equity and Adequacy: Americans Speak on Public School Funding," found that 65 percent of respondents considered it appropriate to allocate tax money to poorer communities even if such revenue came from wealthier areas. Only 26 percent said reallocating the money was a mistake, while 9 percent were undecided. President & CEO Kurt M. Landgraf of Educational Testing Service, who conducted the poll, said, "...if our goal is fairness as well as adequacy in how we fund our public schools, then we need to get to the core of the funding issue. And that means doing away, once and for all, with the system's over-reliance on local property taxes."

    In addition, the poll found that more Americans are aware of the No Child Left Behind Act than they were last year. Of those questioned, 51 percent were at least aware of the law. In May 2003, only 34 percent knew about NCLB. The public was divided, however, on the law’s impact. Thirty-nine percent of respondents viewed it favorably, while 38 percent did not, with 23 percent undecided.

    A summary of "The Equity and Adequacy: Americans Speak on Public School Funding," is available from the Educational Testing Service . (Requires Adobe's Acrobat Reader)

    July 14, 2004- Praxis II: Scoring Mistakes Caused Many To Fail

    The Educational Testing Service announced Monday that mistakes in scoring the Praxis II examination used by 18 states, including Ohio, to license teachers caused more than 4,000 people (1231 from Ohio) who should have passed it to fail instead. The New York Times said the errors, which occurred from January 2003 to April 2004, may have prevented many from getting full-time jobs as teachers. During that time, the test, the Praxis II, Principles of Learning and Teaching for Grades 7 to 12, was given eight times, to a total of about 40,000 people.

    Read the Columbus Dispatch article. Click: Teachers were flunked by mistake

    Read the New York Times article. Click: Grading Mistakes Caused More Than 4,000 Would-Be Teachers to Fail Licensing Exam

    July 12, 2004- August Tax Issues

    According to the Ohio Department of Education, 103 school tax issues will appear on the August 2004 ballot, 81 school districts have one issue on the ballot; 7 school districts have 2 issues on the ballot; 1 school districts has 3 issues on the ballot; 1 school district has 5 issues on the ballot. Since 1995, this years 103 August school tax issues more than doubles any previous year requests for tax increases. The previous high during the period was 1996, the year before the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Ohio's school funding system unconstitutional, when 42 school tax issues were placed before the voters in August. A ten-year history for August school tax issues follows:
    2004.......103 school tax issues
    2003....... 23 school tax issues
    2002........ 20 school tax issues
    2001........ 19 school tax issues
    1999........ 33 school tax issues
    1998........ 33 school tax issues
    1997........ 26 school tax issues
    1996........ 42 school tax issues
    1995........ 31 school tax issues
    Source: Ohio Department of Education

    July 9, 2004- In The News

    * According to the Ohio Schools Board Association, there will be 106 school issues on the ballot across the state in August....Zanesville Times Recorder * A Web site containing dozens of statistics for Ohio's 614 public school districts will be up and running later this year, allowing users to compare districts side-by-side. The $40 million site, funded by private foundations and the federal government, is compiled by Standard & Poor's. At a related Standard & Poor's site, , some test-score information and facts are available for public schools and districts in Ohio and 14 other states....Cincinnati Enquirer * HB 106 changes the procedure for filling a vacancies local boards of education, if the local board fails to do so. Previous law provided that Educational Service Center governing boards fill such vacancies if the local board fails to do so within 30 days. Under HB 106, Probate Court will assume this responsibility for local boards of education, as it currently does for city and exempted village boards....Ohio School Boards Association * A report released Thursday by the National Endowment for the Arts says the number of non-reading adults increased by more than 17 million between 1992 and 2002. Only 47% of American adults read "literature" (poems, plays, narrative fiction) in 2002, a drop of 7 points from a decade earlier. Those reading any book at all in 2002 fell to 57%, down from 61%. Read newspaper story. Click: Johnny Won't Read: Report Shows Big Drop In Reading ....USA Today

    July 8, 2004- Federal Grants For Charter Schools

    Ohio will receive a $16.5 million federal grant to help increase charter school enrollment for students who are at risk of failing or dropping out of school, according to today's Cincinnati Enquirer. The program, which is part of NCLB, is to help states plan, design, operate and distribute information about charter schools. Ten states (California, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Texas and Ohio) will share more than $71.7 million in grants the first year of the three-year program. Responding to the announcement of the award, Sue Taylor, President of the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers said, "There are a very few select charter schools that are not in academic emergency. "Where's the accountability? Here's another example of millions of dollars going without any accountability in place." Ohio has about 180 charter schools and expects about 20 more to open this school year, according to a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education. Throughout the United States, nearly 3,000 charter schools serve almost 750,000 students in 37 states and Washington, D.C.

    July 7, 2004- "Cyberschools"

    According to the Associated Press, Ohio's 41 "cyberschools," with more than 12,000 students taking classes online, received more than $61 million in state and local money last year. The AP article reported that low cyberschool test scores prompted the state to place Ohio's largest cyberschool, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), in its "academic emergency" category last year after the school met only one of 22 state targets: attendance. Another large cyber operation, the TRECA Digital Academy, was designated for "academic watch," also because of low test scores. Cyber operators claim "they help students catch-up" and "their schools often include students who have dropped out of traditional schools and are looking for a second chance," the Associated Press said.

    July 6, 2004- Quotes

    "If you have them heavy on civilians, non-legislators, then they can get utopian ideas and they tend to fall by the wayside. If you allow the makeup to include a number of legislators, then they don't get so utopian and they can have some real hard-core results.'' Former President of the Ohio Senate Richard Finan, speaking on the composition of state committees and commissions... Associated Press, June 22, 2004. "We've literally flooded the system with cash, and it's time to start focusing on improving student achievement instead." U.S. Representative John Boehner, R-Ohio, chairman of the U. S. House Education Committee, arguing that schools are "flush" with federal money..., June 29, 2004.

    July 2, 2004- State Budget Cuts

    Yesterday Governor Taft announced budget cuts to balance the 2004-05 state budget. The following graphic, showing reductions in the original appropriations, is reprinted from today's Columbus Dispatch.

    June 28, 2004- Rural Educators Earn Less

    According to data from the National Survey of Salaries and Wages in Public Schools, released by the Educational Research Service, rural teachers and administrators earn less than their counterparts in other districts. The national survey of education salaries found that school employees in rural schools earned lower average pay in every employment category. Average salaries for superintendents in 2003-04 were $88,149 for rural districts compared to $108,542 for small towns, and 148,201 for suburban areas. Rural teacher salaries averaged $41,131 compared to $43,460 for small towns and $50,844 for suburban areas. The Rural and Community Trust said, "Lower salaries in rural schools creates a competitive disadvantage in recruiting and retaining Highly Qualified teachers and effective school leaders." Read Education Week article. Click: A Rural Trust publication, "The Competitive Disadvantage: Teacher Compensation in Rural America," analyzes the causes and impacts of salary disparity. The brief is available at Sources: Rural School and Community Trust's Rural Form e-mail list and June 23, 2004 Education Week

    June 25, 2004- Success In College

    The June 2004 Ohio Board of Regents publication, THE ISSUE , asked the question, Are Your High School Constituents Successful in College? Data is provided to illustrate the connection between high school course-taking and college success. As expected, the data show that college success increases for students who take more rigorous courses while in high school.

    * Students with the highest level of preparation had the highest level of retention (92%) and lowest college remediation rates (14%), and had an average grade point average of 3.0 in their first college term.

    * Students who took only the minimum college preparatory had lower retention (86%) and significantly higher rates of remediation (32%).

    * Students who took less than the minimum core had even lower retention (78%) and much higher remediation rates (52%).

    Read the June 2004, THE ISSUE. Click: Read this month's issue.

    June 23, 2004- Parents and Adults View Of Public Schools

    A survey released yesterday by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) show how parents view of the nation's public schools has changed since 2001. The percentage of parents who give public schools a grade of A has dropped from 8% in 2001 to 2% today, and only 20% of parents give schools a B, down from 35% in 2001. Meanwhile, 45% of parents give schools a C, up from 33% in 2001.

    According to the 2004 survey, public schools rose slightly in the eyes of adults in general since 2001; a few more adults gave schools a B and fewer gave them a C. The percentage who gave schools a D or F was unchanged. As in 2001, 2% of adults gave public schools an A. According to the ETS survey, the following show how adults' view the quality of U.S. schools in 2004.

    A: 2% B: 20% C: 47% D: 15% F: 4% Avg. GPA: 2.2

    The survey also found that the public is split evenly on the merits of the No Child Left Behind law: 39% have a favorable opinion, 38% unfavorable.

    Editorial Note: Keep in mind that research has shown that people generally view their home schools as being better than neighboring schools or schools in their state or nation as a whole.

    Sources: Educational Testing Service and USA Today

    June 22, 2004- U.S. Secretary Of Education Promotes Charter Schools

    Speaking at the National Charter School Conference in Miami Beach last Friday, U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige urged the 2400 people in attendance to expand charter schools until they exist "on every street corner in every city in the United States of America.'' Secretary Paige said, ''Every time you find a crowd of more than two, start a discussion of charter schools. Keep pressing forward -- do not turn back.'' Paige added, ''You are doing a big favor for the traditional school system. They need the wake-up call, and they need the competition you supply.'' Source: The Miami Herald, June 19, 2004

    June 17, 2004- CORAS Summer Meeting

    Nearly 90 members and guests attended the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools annual summer meeting and golf outing on Tuesday, June 15th at Zanesville's EagleSticks Golf Club and Inn. Featured speakers for the morning session were Roger McCauley, Executive Director of the Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development (COAD) and State Senator Joy Padgett, 20th Senate District. CORAS President-elect Thomas Wolfe recognized retiring CORAS superintendents and gave a special recognition to CORAS superintendents' whose district achieved either "excellent" or "effective" on the 2002-03 Local District Report Card. Retiring members of the CORAS Board of Directors, Deryl Well and Mike Crawford, were presented the Board of Director's Plaque. Following bunch, seventy-two members and guests participated in the annual CORAS golf outing, coordinated by Dale Dickson. Judge William O'Neill, candidate for the Ohio Supreme Court, was the featured speaker at the evening dinner session. The next CORAS meeting is set for Tuesday, September 14, 2004. The program and location will be announced soon.

    June 16, 2004- Some Notes On March Proficiency Tests

    * "Fourth-grade math passage rates jumped from 58 percent in 2003 to 66 percent this year. The jump in sixth grade was even bigger, with 65 percent of this year's students passing, compared with only 52 percent last year." ...Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 16, 2004 * "Ninth-graders didn’t take the proficiency test this year — they took the new Ohio Graduation Test as a practice run for next year. But other high-school students who must pass the old test are still trying to get past portions they previously failed or didn’t take. About 20 percent of tenth-graders, 10 percent of eleventh-graders and 2 percent of the seniors statewide still must pass at least one subject." ...Columbus Dispatch, June 16, 2004

    * A Comparison of charter school results to the state as a whole.

    These figures include only the March fourth-grade reading test. In some districts, students who passed in October did not retake test in March.

    6th Grade Results(Percentage Passed)
    Writing Reading Math Citizenship Science
    Charter Schools 78.1 36.4 28.0 31.8 25.5
    State * 90.3 64.3 65.4 67.7 69.2

    4th Grade Results(Percentage Passed)
    Writing Reading Math Citizenship Science
    Charter Schools 58.0 32.9 29.2 25.5 24.9
    State * 78.4 63.8 65.7 59.2 64.2

    * State results includes charter schools

    Data Source: Columbus Dispatch (Ohio Department of Education), June 16, 2004

    June 14, 2004- Graduation Exams Too Easy?

    Graduation exit exams are too easy and do not measure the skills students will need in college, according to a study released last Wednesday. Reading and writing skills these exams test fall two grade levels behind what students see on the ACT college admissions test, says the report by Achieve Inc. In addition, the study found that the math portion of most exit exams focuses on pre-algebra and basic geometry skills that most students tackle in the early years of high school, rather than the more difficult algebra they need for college. On the English portions of the tests, the questions looked less like a college admissions exam than a test that the ACT offers eighth and ninth graders, Achieve said. The study was based on a detailed analysis of exit exams in six states, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio and Texas. To read the Achieve, Inc., report, Do Graduation Tests Measure Up?: A Closer Look at State High School Exit Exams (June 2004), Click: For Full Report and News Release Read related articles: Click: Exit exams comparatively easy and State Board Approves Cut Scores for Ohio Graduation Tests

    June 11, 2004- ODE To Develop Charter College

    Ohio will be developing its first charter college, which will train teachers for high-demand areas like math, science and special education. The Ohio Department of Education will provide funding for two or three colleges using $800,000 in federal startup money. ODE will be reviewing proposals beginning Monday from 29 education groups that have applied to run them. Charter college graduates would continue to be licensed by the state, but they could be exempt from certain requirements. Those who sent letters of interest, and are eligible to send a formal proposal by the Monday deadline are: Ashland University; Baldwin-Wallace College; Capital University; CaseNEX LLC; Cleveland State University; College of Mount St. Joseph; Columbus Public Schools; Cuyahoga County Educational Service Center; Denison University; East Liverpool City Schools; Lottridgelegacyschoolnet; Lucas County Educational Service Center; Mahoning County Educational Service Center, Marazon Group; Notre Dame College; Oberlin College; Owens Community College; University of Rio Grande; Scope Academy; Sinclair Community College; Stark County Educational Service Center; The Foundation to Advance Childhood Education; Training Specialists of Ohio; 21st Century Community Developers, LLC; UIW, Ohio; University of Akron; Wood County Educational Service Center; Wright State University; and Xavier University. .....Source: Ohio Department of Education

    CORAS members who attended the March 15, 2004 CORAS meeting in Logan, almost three-months ago, will recall that State Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan T. Zelman provided a "heads-up" on the availability charter college program. She even went so far as to give very positive encouragement to Ohio Appalachian colleges, universities and school districts to submit proposals. Yet only one university and only one school district in the 29 Appalachian counties submitted a letter of intent. The lack of proposals from Appalachia is somewhat disappointing, in light of the fact there is a real shortage of mathematics, science and special education teachers in the region. CORAS applauds and supports the University of Rio Grande and East Liverpool City Schools for their initiative and efforts that may lead to more qualified teachers being available in these critical subject areas.

    June 10, 2004- Near-Universal Internet Access

    American schools have near-universal Internet access, according to a USA Today report. The report said between 1996 and 2002, the percentage of Internet-wired schools rose from 65% to 99%, according to federal statistics. The percentage of wired classrooms rose from 14% to 92%; likewise, the percentage of Internet-connected libraries, from 28% to 95%. The article said educators claim the Internet is vital to help young people do homework, conduct research and compete in a global economy.

    June 9, 2004- "Failing Our Children"

    "Failing Our Children," by the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, outlines a fundamentally different approach to assessment and accountability that the authors say would better promote needed school reforms. "The current federal law (NCLB) is aggravating, not solving, the real problems that cause many children to be left behind," according to the report's lead author. "NCLB must be thoroughly overhauled if the federal government is to make a useful contribution to enhancing the quality of education in U.S. schools, particularly for low-income and minority group students." This report goes on to discuss the elements of good assessments and how districts should use assessments to their advantage. For a summary and a copy of the full report, click: Source: Re-printed from AASA's Rural/ Small On Line Newsletter

    June 8, 2004- Charter Schools

    The Columbus Dispatch reported today that one in four Ohio charter schools whose finances have been examined by state auditors since 2002 ended a fiscal year in the red. Ohio has 179 charter schools. State auditors have completed examinations of only 109. The Dispatch said 14 charter schools across the state have closed since the year 2000, often under financial duress.

    June 3, 2004- In The News

    * The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a school board can be held responsible in child abuse cases against employees if schools fail to report earlier abuse by the same worker. ....Associated Press

    * A newly formed group backed by the National Education Association began airing television ads in four key election states Wednesday criticizing President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act. Communities for Quality of Education have purchased television time in Florida, Nevada, Arizona and Ohio and plan to begin airing the ads in Pennsylvania next week. ....Associated Press

    * A growing number of urban districts across the country are doing away with middle schools, replacing them with schools serving kids in kindergarten through eighth grade. According to the National School Boards Association, Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and New Orleans are major urban districts changing to K-8 schools. ....Baltimore Sun

    June 2, 2004- NCLB Not A Federal Mandate?

    A federal auditing agency has concluded that the No Child Left Behind Act is not a mandated financial burden on states. Yesterday, the Washington Times said, "The General Accounting Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, said the act is 'a well-known example' of a new federal law with significant cost implications for state and local governments, but ruled that it does not meet the definition of a mandate under the 1995 Unfunded Mandates Reform Act 'because the requirements were a condition of federal financial assistance.' " According to the Washington Times, the GAO concluded in a May 12, 2004 report to the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, that States have the option to accept or reject the federal funding for NCLB. Therefore, the law is not considered an unfunded mandate. Read the Washington Times article. Click: Education Law Deemed No Mandate

    June 1, 2004- More High School Students Enroll In College

    In 2002, 65 percent of high school students enrolled in college right after graduation, up from 50 percent 30 years ago. However, only 63 percent of students who begin at a four-year college will get a bachelor’s degree with in six years, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s Beginning Postsecondary Survey. Source: Testimony by Kati Haycock, Director, The Education Trust, before the National Commission on Accountability on Higher Education, May 10, 2004.

    May 28, 2004- Parent Polls

    Eighty-three percent of parents give themselves at least a B for involvement in their children's education. But when assessing other parents, seventy-six percent give C's, D's and F'S. How Parents See Themselves.
    Above Average.......83%
    Average or Below...17%
    How Parents See Other Parents.
    Above Average.......21%
    Average or Below...76 %
    Source: USA Today A National PTA Educational Funding Poll conducted in January of this year of 800 public school parents found that 87 percent of parents said they are expected to participate in their children's school fundraising activities. When Asked How Many School Fundraising Activities They Are Expected to Participate In, 29 % said 1 or 2 fundraising activities; 36 % said 3 or 4 fundraising activities, and 22 % said 5 or more fundraising activities.

    Source: National PTA

    May 27, 2004- In The News

    * School and community leaders from Belmont County have announced their intention to issue school funding report cards to candidates for the 126th General Assembly. * Wisconsin's attorney general said state and local education officials could make a strong case against the No Child Left Behind Law in court. According to Education Week, the Wisconsin attorney general all but invited them to explore the possibility of doing so. Click here to read, "Top State Lawyer's Analysis." * The Ohio House approved a bill Wednesday requiring school districts and community schools receiving donated copies of the mottoes of the United States of America and the State of Ohio to display them in each school building. The requirement applies to the phrase, "In God We Trust" and "With God, All Things Are Possible."

    May 26, 2004- Kansas School Funding Case

    The Kansas Supreme Court has voided a May 11 lower-court ruling in a school-funding case that had ordered the state’s schools to shut down as of June 30, 2004. The Court’s ruling, issued last Wednesday, reversed a County District Judge's order for the state to close its public school system and stop the flow of state aid to schools. The County District Judge declared the Kansas school finance system to be unconstitutional.

    May 25, 2004- Compromise On Oversight Bill

    According to the Associated Press, the Ohio House and Senate have worked out their differences over a proposal to increase oversight of the state's public employee retirement systems. The Governor is expected to sign the bill this week. The compromise would require the state's five public employee retirement systems to develop goals to increase the use of Ohio-based brokers and money managers, but the systems would not be required to set aside a specific amount of business for Ohio firms. AP also said the Ethics Commission ongoing investigation of the State Teachers Retirement System is expected to be completed this summer.

    May 24, 2004- HB 265

    House Bill 265, introduced in the Ohio House last fall, would amend state law by providing immunity from civil liability for school districts, community schools, nonpublic schools, and school employees for an alleged injury to a student caused by school discipline, provided that such discipline does not result in child endangerment. Current law protects school personnel if the use of force or physical restraint is reasonable and necessary in self-defense, if the purpose is to protect people and property, to stop a disturbance or to remove weapons and dangerous objects from a student. HB 265 expands the protection to include situations governed by the bill's provision regarding immunity in suits arising out of the discipline of a student. There is no immunity if the action is deemed excessive or carries a substantial risk of serious injury or is administered repeatedly or in a cruel manner. >Read Bill Analyses, Click: HB 265 As Introduced

    May 21, 2004- Bogus Degrees

    According to Education Week the General Accounting Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, has found that at least 463 federal employees, some in the upper ranks of government, hold bogus degrees from diploma mills. Two of them work for the Department of Education. In addition, the report said, GAO investigators found at least 28 high-ranking federal officials held diploma mill degrees. Officials with bogus degrees include managers in the Department of Energy and in the National Nuclear Security Administration, and senior executives in the departments of Transportation and Homeland Security, the EW article said.

    Read the Education Week article. Click: Federal InvestigatorsTarget ‘Diploma Mills’

    May 20, 2004- "....A Two-Tiered Education System"

    The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, a Washington-based nonprofit organization, commissioned a poll of teachers in three states to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The results of the poll were released last week in the report, Fifty Years After Brown v. Board of Education: A Two-Tiered Education System,

    The report said, "The evidence cited by the teachers, school by school, proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that children at risk, who come from families with poorer economic backgrounds, are not being given an opportunity to learn that is equal to that offered to children from the most privileged families."

    The poll, reinforcing the obvious, found that children from poorer economic backgrounds have the poorest physical environments, the greatest instability of teachers, the fewest fully qualified teachers, a shortage of textbooks and instructional materials, far less availability of technology in the classroom, overcrowded classes, poor working conditions for the teachers, and fewer teaching/learning resources. The report said, "To compare these schools with those serving the most affluent majority of students is akin to comparing a backward, emerging nation with a highly industrial nation. It is no contest."

    The report offers the following remedies.

    1. Acknowledge unequal school conditions and marshal the political will to seek solutions.

    2. Listen to what teachers and students tell us about conditions in their schools.

    3. Establish school standards that sustain quality teaching and learning for every child.

    4. Establish funding adequacy formulas based on per-pupil needs in lieu of per-pupil averages.

    5. Use better data to report on the relationship between school conditions and student performance.

    6. Hire well qualified teachers and principals, support them and reward them for performance.

    7. Hold officials publicly accountable for keeping the promise of educational equity.

    Read the results of the poll, "Fifty Years After Brown v. Board of Education: A Two-Tiered Education System," from the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future. (Requires Adobe's Acrobat Reader.)

    May 19, 2004- CORAS Meeting & Golf Outing, June 15

    Register now for the June 15, 2004 CORAS meeting at the EagleSticks Golf Club and Inn, Zanesville. Registration is 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. The program, beginning at 9:00 a.m., will recognize retiring CORAS superintendents. CORAS superintendents/school districts receiving excellent and effective on 2002-03 Local District Report Cards will also be honored.. Featured speakers are Roger McCauley, Executive Director, Corporation of Ohio Appalachian Development (COAD), who will discuss the impact on the Appalachian region if the one-cent sales tax increase is repealed. State Senator Joy Padgett, 20th Senate District, will address the developing school-funding crisis, (i.e. school districts cutting programs, laying off staff, and levy failures). Following the morning program, CORAS will hold its annual Summer golf outing on the EagleSticks golf course. Golf participants must submit their registration by May 31st. A $45.00 golf registration fee, which includes green fees, cart, golf shirt, prizes and dinner, is required. The registration fee for the morning program is $15.00, which includes brunch. To register for the meeting and/or the golf outing contact Lori at 740-593-4414 or 740-593-4445 or FAX 740-593-9698 or email For additional information on the golf outing contact Dale Dickson, CORAS Golf Outing Coordinator, at 740-342-3502.

    May 18, 2004- The GED Diploma

    According to an article in the New York Times, one of every seven high school diplomas granted in the United States in recent years has gone to someone who passed the GED test. Nationally, 49 percent of those earning GEDs in 2002 were teenagers, the report said. There were 648,000 GED diplomas awarded in 2001. With a new, harder test in 2002, the number receiving GEDs fell to 330,000. The American Council on Education (ACE) claims those who receive the GED diploma outperform at least 40 percent of today's high school seniors. In addition, ACE said more than 95 percent of U.S. employers consider GED graduates the same as traditional high school graduates in regard to hiring, salary and opportunity for advancement.

    May 17, 2004- Fifty Years Ago Today

    "In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms." ....Excerpt from the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision of May 17, 1954 that ruled 'separate but equal' has no place in public education, as delivered by Chief Justice Earl Warren.

    May 14, 2004- Headlines: No End In Sight

    More evidence of the looming school-funding crisis in Ohio.

    Independence reduces busing, lays off 35
    Needing to save $1.6 million, Independence schools will lay off 35 workers and cut bus service for hundreds of students. The school board this week approved the job cuts, which include 13 teachers. Their last day of work will be June 30.

    Larger tax levy possible
    After meeting with a small community group Thursday, the Woodmore school board's finance committee learned they should probably go for a pricier, longer term levy. To go along with that, school officials will make about $200,000 in cuts -- equivalent to about 1.5 mills of real estate tax in the district. The district's 2.9-mill, two year emergency levy will expire at the end of this year. The tax generates about $420,000 per year of an $8.5 million budget. Without a renewal or new levy, Treasurer Anne Arnold predicts a deficit of about $160,000 for the 2004-2005 school year, and about $1 million at the close of the 2005-2006 school year.

    Group tries to stave off cutbacks in Holgate
    HOLGATE, Ohio - At least 50 concerned citizens plan to attend a Holgate school board meeting tonight to make pleas against possible cuts at the rural school district.

    Rossford eyes mobile school units
    The Rossford Board of Education is to decide Monday whether to buy two mobile school units, each with two classrooms, and whether to put a new permanent improvement levy on the August ballot.

    Ashland schools weigh tax options Monday, the board discussed the type, size and timing of a levy with facilitator Al Maloy, deputy director of search services and board development for the Ohio School Boards Association. Board members agreed the public is tired of hearing about a levy and probably would not approve an August request. The board discussed the advantages of a property tax versus and income tax. Treasurer Marie Beddow discussed options of a 9.9-mill property tax levy or a 1.25-percent income tax.

    Crestline to explore CC merger
    CRESTLINE -- Crestline Exempted Village School District might appoint two board members to discuss possible consolidation with the Colonel Crawford School District. Superintendent Randal Harner said the board could decide tonight to appoint two members to meet with Colonel Crawford officials. Crestline district has projected a $6 million deficit by fiscal year 2008. Crestline hoped to pass a 7.55-mill emergency levy to raise $607,200 through 2006. The district also hoped to pass a 1-percent income tax issue. Both issues failed at the polls March 2

    City Schools cuts 12 more jobs
    MARION -- Marion City Schools Board of Education on Monday voted to put a 10.1-mill, five-year levy on the Aug. 3 special election ballot. In its five-year forecast, the district projected a $4.4 million general fund deficit by the end of next school year. After the March levy defeat, Zwick said the district planned to reduce its work force by 66 employees, laying off 14 teachers in addition to 22 who took up the district's offer of a retirement incentive, 24 classified employees and six administrators. The reduction in force will save $2.9 million.

    Dublin voters face two school issues
    Dublin voters will decide this fall whether they want to pay higher taxes for school operations and whether to issue bonds to pay for a new elementary school and more classrooms for preschool and middle-school students. The Dublin school board will ask voters to approve a $48.8 million bond issue and a 7.9-mill operating levy on Nov. 2. The money will stave off a projected $20 million deficit expected in 2007.

    Newark schools seek bond issue NEWARK, Ohio — The final piece of a plan to rebuild the city’s aging schools is expected to go before voters in November after action last night by the Newark school board. A resolution approved unanimously by the five-member board asks taxpayers to pay about $70 million in the next 28 years for the district’s share of a $131 million plan to build six bigger schools, renovate seven and close nine.

    School budget revisions proposedHaving heard more cost-cutting and cash-generating proposals Wednesday, the Fremont Board of Education's Finance Committee is edging closer to lopping $1.6 million from next year's budget. To reach that figure, officials might cut 12 to 14 food service positions, three custodial positions through attrition, tweak the transportation department and increase fees -- including instructional fees, lunch prices, fees for athletics and student parking at Ross High School.

    Fairborn schools plan more cuts
    The school board, struggling to avoid a deficit of $3.2 million or more next year, will meet Monday morning at the board of education building for another round of personnel cuts. Superintendent David Scarberry said cuts related primarily to the planned closing of Black Lane Elementary and Wright Elementary next year. The cuts follow board actions in April that eliminated about 100 staffers for the 2004-05 school year and an vote last July to cut 78 administrative and support staff positions.

    May 13, 2004- Superintendent Pay

    SUPERINTENDENT PAY • Average superintendent salary nationally: $126,268

    • Superintendents in districts of 25,000 or more students: $170,024

    • Superintendents in districts of 10,000 - 24,999: $138,537

    • Superintendents in districts of 2,500 - 9,999: $121,853

    • Superintendents in districts of 300 - 2,499: $98,302

    Source: Educational Research Service

    May 12, 2004- Website Lists Schools' Rankings

    The Ohio Department of Education announced yesterday the availability of a new online tool that gives parents, educators and community leaders access to easy-to-understand information about their schools' performance. Every Ohio public school's performance, demographic data and analyses are now featured on a Web site, The data comply with a requirement under the federal No Child Left Behind Act that information be publicly reported.

    May 11, 2004- In The News

    * State Teachers Retirement System board Chairman Eugene Norris was defeated by John Lazares, superintendent of the Warren County Educational Service Center, for a seat on the STRS board. * According to a report in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Ohio High School Athletic Association will name Daniel Ross, superintendent of Avon Lake schools, as its new commissioner at a Thursday news conference in Columbus. * Check-out the new OSBA website. Click: A New feature is OSBA's Video Update. Click: OSBA's Video Update — the May 7th edition of education news in Ohio to view the latest update.

    May 10, 2004- More On Value-Added Assessment

    Interest in "value-added" assessment, the tracking academic progress of individual students over time, has been brought to the forefront in Ohio through the efforts of Jim Mahoney, Battelle for Kids and the research of Dr. William Sanders. In the last issue of Education Week, the article "Value Lessons" pointed out that a growing number of educators in England have been utilizing "value-added" since the early 1980s. Just this year, according to the EW report, the British government began producing "value-added" information and test results for all public schools schools in the country. Read the article in the May 5, 2004 Education Week. Click: Value Lessons

    May 7, 2004- Headlines: List Continues To Grow

    The list continues to grow! This marks the fifth week that CORAS has compiled a list of Ohio school districts cutting programs and services because of a lack of funding. These listings make it abundantly clear that Ohio is rapidly moving toward a major school-funding crisis. To view previous "Headlines" that are listed on the CORAS website, Click: Current Ohio Education News ...

    Madison slashes teachers, busing
    MADISON TOWNSHIP -- The Madison Schools budget ax has fallen again -- this time on two dozen teachers and on busing for many students. In another move to slash into its $2.2 million deficit, the district announced it will reduce its force by 24 teachers at the end of the school year. The measure will save just over $1 million, Superintendent Roger Harraman said.

    Board meeting emotional for some
    Teachers and students expressed their concerns and disappointment at the $1.3 million in cuts announced in March for the Pickaway-Ross Joint Vocational School District at Thursday night's board meeting. The cuts include the elimination of 13 teaching positions and the discontinuation of five business programs, four of which are satellite programs at Circleville, Logan Elm and Chillicothe high schools.

    Perkins Local passes resolution to place a property tax on August ballot
    SANDUSKY - The Perkins Local school board yesterday passed the first resolution required to place a property tax request on the Aug. 3 ballot.

    Huron city schools put under fiscal watch
    HURON, Ohio - The Huron City School District was placed under "fiscal watch" by the state auditor's office, which said the district failed to submit an adequate written plan to eliminate projected deficits this year and next.

    Schools tighten belts to get by
    Princeton is cutting teachers. Winton Woods and Three Rivers are cutting teachers and high school busing. Sycamore is downsizing.

    Franklin to discuss two money issues
    FRANKLIN - An Aug. 3 ballot issue that would provide money for day-to-day operations and construction in the Franklin schools will be discussed at a special school board meeting at 7 p.m.

    Rossford board asks public input on levy priorities
    The Rossford Board of Education passed the first of two resolutions necessary to put a 2-mill permanent improvements levy on the Aug. 3 ballot last night, then asked its audience to offer their opinions on priorities for spending the money.

    Mayfield schools cut budget, 40 positions
    Mayfield - Eleven teachers, 20 teaching assistants and nine other school district employees will lose their jobs at the end of the school year as part of a $3.3 million budget cut.

    Hudson schools to cut 20 full-time jobs
    Hudson- The Hudson School District plans to cut 20 full-time staff positions to offset cuts in state funding and reduced tax collections that are affecting school districts all over the state.

    City Schools unions seeing rift
    MARION -- Two unions representing Marion City School employees are going to the public with their suggestions for fiscally challenging times while waiting for a chance to give input to the school administration. Marion City Schools Board of Education members suspended the contracts of 14 teachers and a principal, an administrative staff assistant and a program administrator at an April 26 meeting. The move, expected to save $2.9 million by reducing its work force from 694 to 628 including several retirements, is an attempt to offset a projected general fund deficit of $4.4 million by the end of the next school year.

    Dayton schools cut 124 positions, close middle school
    DAYTON - The Dayton school board voted Tuesday night to cut 124 jobs - including 82 teaching positions - as part of a cost - saving effort to fend off a projected $7.4 million deficit next year

    TPS budget fix would cut 91 teaching jobs
    A proposal to eliminate Toledo Public Schools' projected $6 million deficit for the next fiscal year includes cutting 91 teaching positions, according to district documents.

    May 6, 2004- Ohio Facing $108 Million Shortfall For Schools

    The Associated Press reported yesterday that Ohio is facing a $108 million shortfall for schools for the fiscal year ending June 30. The deficit was blamed on unexpectedly high enrollment and a new way of counting students. According to an ODE official, school enrollments were about 9,000 students more than expected when school districts submitted final numbers in April. In addition, special education enrollments were 7,000 students higher than last year. According to the AP report, Governor Taft said, "We're going to come up with the dollars." Budget Director Tom Johnson said the state wants to fix the deficit by shifting $28 million within ODE's budget internally and asking the Legislature for permission to spend $80 million of the state's year-end balance.

    The AP report, posted on the Akron Beacon Journal website at 3:00 PM Wednesday and updated at 7:59 PM said, "The announcement came just hours after hundreds of students, teachers and education advocates rallied at the Statehouse to say Ohio isn't doing enough to help local districts fund schools.


    May 5, 2004- Principals Salaries Decline Slightly

    The National Association of Elementary School Principals said the average pay of an elementary principal in the United States is $75,144 for 2003-04, down $147 from $75,291 in 2002-03. According to the NAESP executive director, this is the first salary decline for elementary school principals in over a decade.

    May 4, 2004- CORAS/Hicks Program

    The CORAS/Hicks-Executive-in-Residence program was held at the Ohio University Inn, Athens last Thursday, April 29, 2004. Over 60 CORAS members, Ohio University College of Education faculty and guests were in attendance. CORAS President Bob Caldwell recognized the 2004 CORAS Leadership and Service recipients Al Cote, Roger Nehls, Jerry Vinci, Barbara Glover and Ralph Martin. Following preliminary remarks by Mark Chahulski, William Phillis, Mark Hatch and Debbie Phillips, Dr. Max Evans talked about the life of Dr. Samuel I. Hicks, for whom the program memorializes. Featured speaker, Judge Linton D. Lewis, Jr., trial court judge in DeRolph v. State of Ohio, gave an informative presentation on the DeRolph school-funding litigation. Hicks Executive-in-Residence honoree Dr. Julie Underwood, Deputy Executive Director and General Legal Counsel for the National School Boards Association, discussed school funding in Ohio and across the nation. Both speakers were presented plaques recognizing their support for public education. The next CORAS meeting is set for Tuesday, June 15, 2004 at the EagleSticks Gold Club and Inn, Zanesville. The speakers will be Roger McCauley, Executive Director, Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development (COAD), and State Senator Joy Padgett, 20th Senate District. The annual CORAS golf outing will follow the program. Registration materials will be mailed to CORAS members this week

    May 3, 2004- Superintendents Scarce, Teachers Plentiful

    The Cincinnati Enquirer reported this morning that school superintendents are retiring in record numbers. The Enquirer said school boards locally and across the country are finding that the pool of applicants to fill those posts has shrunk, and those who do apply often are less qualified. Read the Enquirer article. Click: Fewer want to be superintendents With teachers, it's a different story. Today's Columbus Dispatch reported that the Ohio Collaborative Policy Center, a research organization that tracks the job market, said the demand for new teachers is at a five-year low. Read the Dispatch article. Click: School’s out for a lot of teachers looking for jobs

    April 30, 2004- And Still More Headlines

    Over the past three weeks CORAS has listed dozens of newspaper "headlines" that point to the developing school funding crisis in Ohio.....and still more "headlines" have appeared this week. Shadyside Local School District Cuts 10 Positions

    SHADYSIDE - Ten positions within Shadyside Local School District were eliminated Thursday during a regular meeting of the board of education, as the board unanimously passed a motion to implement Level I of the district's expenditure reduction plan. After being placed under fiscal caution by the Ohio Department of Education last week, Shadyside school officials took immediate action and began working on a financial recovery plan, including three levels of expenditure reductions. Officials have projected a deficit of more than $2.4 million at the end of Fiscal 2006.

    Cloverleaf schools put levy on ballot
    LODI - For the sixth time in two years, Cloverleaf voters will be asked to support a school issue. School board members voted this week to put a levy on the November ballot. They have not decided how much millage to seek. Voters rejected a 9.7-mill, five-year emergency additional levy March 2. It would have generated $4.2 million a year and cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $297 annually. The issue lost by only 26 votes. The district is facing a projected budget deficit of about $500,000 for the 2004-05 school year. School leaders already have decided to close two elementary buildings and cut teaching and support positions.

    Oberlin schools keep cutting costs, positions, even after tax hikes pass
    Oberlin - The board already has eliminated eight teaching positions and one administrative position in 2003-04. Voters approved a five-year, 8-mill property tax and a 0.25 percent income tax, but Treasurer Diane Wolf said that most of the money will not be collected until the next fiscal school year. By 2005-06, the deficit will be about $430,000, said Wolf By cutting salaries, benefits, equipment and supplies, the district already has reduced its $10.5 million budget by almost $800,000 over the past two years, said Wolf.

    Board says elementary school has to be closed

    Despite the impassioned pleas of several parents carrying signs and wiping away tears, the Madison-Plains Board of Education voted last night to close Fairfield Elementary school in August to avert a financial crisis. To shave almost $1.6 million from its $13 million general-fund budget by mid-2005, the board also voted unanimously to eliminate 18 positions and consider implementing a more expensive pay-to-play system for extracurricular activities. The board also agreed to seek either a 0.75 percent income tax or a 6.5-mill property tax in November to prevent more cuts and the closing of a second elementary school

    School financial picture bleak
    Community members worried about the finances, facilities and the future of Bucyrus City Schools had a two-hour discussion Monday evening at Bucyrus High School. The school board did not make a decision. The board will meet in a special work session at 6 p.m. today to discuss the financial status of the district and levy options.

    Lakota students will see school fees rise
    Assistant Superintendent Michael Taylor has recommended increasing fees for kindergarten students by $5 to $35 next school year. In grades 1-6 the fee is expected to increase $10, to $45 per student. After-school fees for marching band and drama will increase $5 to $55 while athletics will go up $50 to $85 for junior school students and $115 for students in grades 9-12. Each family will be capped at $230 for athletics.

    Districts outline need for levies

    STONELICK TWP. - Two Clermont County school districts have committed themselves to a levy on the August ballot. In Clermont Northeastern, where the district is facing an $800,000 deficit in the 2005-06 school year, a failure of its 4.9-mill permanent improvement levy will lead to immediate cuts for the 2004-05 school year, said Superintendent Charles Shreve. In nearby Williamsburg, the district is looking at a deficit in the exact amount of its 6.4-mill emergency operating levy request - $260,000 - for the 2004-05 school year. The district isn't talking about cuts for the upcoming school year, but has announced its proposed contingency cuts for the 2005-06 year, said Superintendent Tom Durbin.

    Parma schools to drop busing, cut 103 workers
    Parma - Cash-strapped Parma schools must cut 103 workers, including 59 teachers, and eliminate busing for more than 1,600 students, School Board President Kevin Kelley said Wednesday.

    23 layoffs set in motion by Napoleon
    NAPOLEON - The Napoleon Board of Education has moved to enact nearly two dozen employee cuts announced earlier this year.

    Ross schools raise fees, make cuts for next year

    Increasing pay-to-participate and school fees, combined with spending cuts, will allow the Ross Local Schools to trim about $700,000 during the upcoming school year. Those changes, combined with about $30,000 in spending reductions already imposed following last month's levy defeat, should lessen an anticipated deficit during the 2006-2007 school year for the southwestern Butler County district.

    N. Royalton school district off 'fiscal watch' list
    North Royalton- The city school district's finances no longer need monitoring, the state auditor announced Thursday. "This doesn't solve the funding issues in North Royalton," Superintendent Baroff said. "Like other districts, we're going to have to go to our community for financial support to stay off the list."

    April 29, 2004- Florida Charter School Hiring Out Students

    A Florida charter school has been charged with fraud for allegedly hiring out students to work on road crews and pocketing extra money from the state. Escambia Charter School in Gonzalez, Florida is accused of sending students to work on state road projects instead of teaching them. In addition, the charter school submitted false attendance records, schedules, and report cards to obtain state funds. Students spent only one hour a day in classes for four days a week, working the rest of the time on state road projects. The school had received about $250,000 for students’ labor from the Florida Department of Transportation in the past five years, and pocketed about $40,000 a year after paying students, according to Education Week.

    April 28, 2004- ODE Budget Cuts

    On March 8, 2004 the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) was ordered by Governor Taft to reduce spending in FY 04 by $16.6 million as part of an effort to eliminate a $620 million state budget deficit by June 30, 2005. ODE will make the following reductions:

    $9.8 million in ODE operating budget $2.4 million from cost-savings by ODE $4.4 million from direct subsidy and programs to school districts, which includes: $293,000 - Alternative Education Programs $ 80,000 - Tech Prep Consortia Support $ 88,000 - GED-testing/Adult High School $530,000 - Vocational Education Enhancements $3.4 million - Special Education Enhancements Source: Ohio School Boards Association

    April 27, 2004- Quotes

    "Districts like Cincinnati are expected to fund most of their education through local property taxes, while the state sends more tax dollars to regions with low property values, such as rural and Appalachian districts." .... State Rep. Bill Seitz, (R), Cincinnati, Cincinnati Enquirer, April 26, 2004 "State lawmakers worked seven years under a court order to change the school-funding system. Mainly, they rearranged the deck chairs." ....Lee Leonard, Columbus Dispatch, April 26, 2004 "Teachers could use a hug. On average, those with a bachelor's degree or higher degree earn 44 percent less than other workers with similar levels of education. Nearly 50 percent of new teachers leave their profession by the fifth year, and nearly 16 percent leave each year." ....Scott Stephens, Cleveland Plain Dealer, April 27, 2004

    April 26, 2004- Research: APY Fails To Provide Complete Picture

    The Northwest Evaluation Association recently completed (April 2004) a research project, Individual Growth and School Success, confirming that Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measures do not provide a complete picture for judging school effectiveness. The study identifies significant academic differences among schools judged to be meeting AYP measures, and concludes that academic growth data are essential to give us a complete picture of school success. To view the Executive Summary, Click here. To access the full Report in .pdf format, which you may view or download. Click Here Visit the Northwest Evaluation Association website at:

    April 23, 2004- And More Headlines

    Over the past two weeks CORAS has posted newspaper "headlines" that point to the developing school funding crisis in Ohio.....and more "headlines" appeared this week.

    Falling enrollment hurts CPS
    Plummeting enrollment is forcing Cincinnati Public Schools to consider trimming staff, cutting the budget and scaling back its $1 billion school construction project before one new school is built.

    Swanton schools will ask for bailout
    SWANTON - The Swanton Local School District Board of Education last night agreed to seek a $265,764 catastrophic grant from the state to help offset the district's projected deficit.

    Fostoria schools eye budget cuts, levy bid
    FOSTORIA - School officials last night introduced plans to cut more than $1 million from next year's budget, including the elimination of nearly two dozen employee positions and reductions in bus service.

    Lakewood not rehiring 7 teachers in budget move
    Lakewood- The Board of Education will not rehire seven teachers, including three vocational-education instructors, despite criticism from some residents.

    River View cuts positions
    River View’s students will be taught next year by at least 13 fewer teachers. And additional cost savings will be needed to balance the books for the next fiscal year, warned Superintendent Kyle Kanuckel. “We’re not finished yet,” he said Monday night. “We’re looking at personnel, we’re looking at extracurricular activities, we’re looking at supplies.”

    Cleveland school administrators propose millions in cuts
    Cleveland public school administrators propose eliminating 873 employees - including more than 600 teachers - as part of the latest round of budget cuts. Slicing 618 teaching positions would save $61.5 million, with the other staff reductions adding to that total. The district faces a deficit of up to $100 million because of lower than expected tax collections and state funding. If August levy fails, fall sports will pay the price, officials say If district voters again defeat a school levy in August, Preble Shawnee High school will not play fall sports, district officials say.

    And elsewhere:
    AD Joan Dautell said that Fairborn will not cut any sports due to the defeat of a 9.9-mill, $5.6 million operating levy in March. But, students will face an increased price to participate.

    Valley View will institute a $200 per-student per-activity fee beginning in the 2004-05 school year. Sherry Parr, superintendent of Valley View Local Schools, said that number could fall to $50 with a $100 cap per student if a levy passes in August. The sized of that levy have not been determined.

    Franklin AD Marvin Sands said the cost of the athletics program is about $430 per participant, and students will have to pay $250 per sport. The rest will be covered by fund-raisers organized by the parent and donations, Sands said. Sands adds that Franklin plans another levy in August of undetermined size. If that levy passes, the pay-to-participate plan will be unnecessary.

    Washington schools seek 3.9-mill continuing levy
    Aiming for the November ballot, the Washington Local Schools Board of Education last night voted unanimously to ask the Lucas County auditor to certify a new request for a 3.9-mill continuing levy.

    Swanton parents raising money for school supplies
    SWANTON - As Swanton Local School District officials continue efforts to offset a general operating fund deficit, parents and others in the community are rallying to pay for paper, pens, pencils, and other classroom supplies for the 2004-05 school year.

    Henry Co. district to combine grade levels Patrick Henry's levy defeat leads to change
    HAMLER, Ohio - Patrick Henry Superintendent Susan Miko called the March 2 ballot request a "status quo" levy, meaning things would stay pretty much the same if voters approved an additional 8.75-mills for the district. But the levy was defeated, and now things are not going to stay the same for the youngest members of the Henry County school district. Beginning this fall, all children in kindergarten, first, and second grades will be bused to Deshler Elementary, and all third and fourth graders will be transported to Malinta-Grelton Elementary.

    Tight budgets squeeze more districts
    Brecksville-Broadview Heights and South Euclid-Lyndhurst are the latest school districts to deal with a budget crunch. Brecksville-Broadview Heights has laid off 10 teachers and 29 other employees, while the South Euclid- Lyndhurst district has cut 31 teachers and plans to drop another 35 non-teaching positions next month. 3,000 Ohio Teachers to Lose Jobs 10 TV, WBNS Columbus, reported Thursday that the Ohio Education Association said 3,000 Ohio teachers will lose their teaching positions this year because of budget cutbacks.

    April 22, 2004- Around The Statehouse

    * State Senator Robert Gardner introduced SB 232 yesterday that requires the State Board of Education to establish the Ohio Regional Education Delivery System by July 1, 2007.

    * Legislators favoring video gambling have put together a plan for cities to vote on slot machines in Ohio's seven racetracks. According to the Columbus Dispatch, the plan was put together at a House Republican caucus on Tuesday. The proposal would give half the profits to college scholarship programs, 10 percent to early childhood initiatives such as Head Start and 40 percent for public school funding (about $107 per student statewide). The Associated Press reported that House Speaker Larry Householder said he believes cities would view the casino idea as a positive trade-off given that rural areas benefit from racetracks through the sale of grain for horses. Householder said, "So this is a way to allow the urban areas to also have a benefit." Editorial: More gimmickry and some strange reasoning.

    April 21, 2004- Property Taxes And School Finance

    Today's Education Week reports that "property-tax problems are occurring in a variety of states and taking several forms." Education Week pointed to Ohio to illustrate one of the problems. The article said, "In Ohio last month, only 46 percent of property-tax levies for districts’ operating or capital expenses gained voter approval. Over the previous four years, 60 percent of such initiatives passed."
    Education Week conducted a school-funding survey in the fall of 2003. They asked state officials, "What is the most pressing issue regarding school finance for your state?" The survey found that concerns over property taxes was the most pressing issue in a number of states. View survey results. Click: "Survey Results."

    To read the full article, click: Property Tax Feels Weight Of Demands

    Source: Education Week...April 21, 2004

    April 20, 2004- Selling Naming Rights

    The sale of naming rights by public schools may be gaining momentum. The Associated Press said corporate underwriting is common at many schools around the country, citing ads in yearbooks, company sponsored scoreboards and band uniforms. Several states allow some ads on school buses. . But in recent years, according to AP, school district’s naming rights are going much further. In New Jersey a new grade school gym was named the ShopRite of Brooklawn Center. A local supermarket owner will pay $100,000 over 20 years to have the store’s name displayed on the outside of the gym. In the same district, the naming rights for the new school library were sold to the local family for $100,000. The library is now the Flowers Library and Media Center. The AP article said, "As voters weigh an unpopular property tax increase to balance school budgets, the school is being touted as a model of creative fund-raising."

    Read the article. Click: All names for sale at school

    April 19, 2004- Charters Granted To New School Districts

    The State Board of Education has granted new charters to Peebles Local School District and Manchester Local School District. Both districts were previously part of the Adams County/Ohio Valley Local School District. According to the Ohio Department of Education, the two new school districts were created earlier this year by the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center. ODE said both new districts have submitted plans to the state department, detailing how they intend to meet state operating standards.

    April 16, 2004- More Headlines

    Last week CORAS listed more than a dozen newspaper "headlines" that point to a developing school funding crisis in Ohio. The following are more "headlines" appearing this week.

    N. Ridgeville schools plan cutbacks The district, facing a $1.5 million shortfall, has decided to reduce busing and overtime, delay new purchase and begin a hiring freeze after last month's defeat of a 4.92-mill operating levy. It may have to eliminate or not fill as many as 67 jobs.

    Westerville schools face cuts
    The school board is to vote Monday on a plan that would eliminate 36 high school teaching positions, 67 courses and nine programs; increase high-school class sizes to 30; and reduce the number of credits required to graduate to 20.

    73 Sylvania school staffers facing layoffs
    About 70 employees, more than half of them teachers, will have to be laid off from Sylvania schools so the system can end next school year with a balanced budget, Superintendent Brad Rieger told the Board of Education last night.

    Proposed cutbacks at Lakewood schools to affect jobs, some vocational classes
    Lakewood -School officials intend to cut as many as 20 employees, including at least seven teachers, to save $1 million.

    Lakota schools to cut teachers
    One of Ohio's top-rated school districts will have bigger classes this fall, because teacher jobs are being cut - even as enrollment continues to grow.

    Lake Local decision on levy likely tonight
    The board's goal is to stem a growing deficit in the district's budget that, if not addressed with tax increases or spending cuts, would put the Lake Local School District a projected $847,000 in the red by the end of the 2004-2005 school year, and more than $10 million down by mid-2008.

    April 15, 2004- National 12th Grade Test

    President Bush wants to test all high school seniors just before they graduate. The President's plan would give every senior in the nation the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Administration officials said the tests are needed to ensure that students graduating from high school have the skills they need to succeed. Officials also said tests will not be used to determine school sanctions or funding. Ohio discontinued the statewide 12th grade test three-years ago due to its ineffectiveness. If the new test is approved by Congress, Ohio students would take eight achievement tests during their twelve years of schooling.

    April 14, 2004- Project Chalkboard

    The Fair Taxation and Equal Education Task Force, based in Summit County, is sponsoring Project Chalkboard. About a dozen large chalkboards will be moved to more than 100 locations in Ohio over a period of 7-10 days, arriving in Columbus for a Statehouse event on May 5, 2004. Already more than 75 “chalkboard stops” have been identified. At these stops, local school and community persons will conduct school funding information events and news conferences. Rural Appalachian Ohio school districts need to be more active in this event. Add your school community to the "chalkboard stops." Complete information may be found on You may also contact Mary Ann Isak at , 330-753-8552 or 330-697-0194.

    April 13, 2004- Property Tax Viewed As Unfair

    * A USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll last year found that the property tax is the most despised tax because people view it as unfair. * Property-tax collections have risen an average of 5.7% annually over the past five years to a record $297 billion nationally in 2003, according to the Census Bureau. * Census Bureau figures show that in 2003 state and local governments got 32% of their money from Property taxes, 25% from Sales taxes, 21 % from Income taxes and 22% from other taxes. Sources: USA Today and U.S. Census Bureau

    April 12, 2004- District Invoices State To Avoid Cuts

    Tiffin City School District billed the State of Ohio for about $1.2 million to avoid budget cuts after an operating levy failed to pass in the March primary. "Your remittance of the full amount ($1,183,714) is required within 90 days, as the Supreme Court has ruled the state funding system unconstitutional," said the March 30 invoice, which was sent to the governor's office, the Ohio Department of Education and state lawmakers. An Ohio Department of Education spokesperson said ODE checked with their attorneys who did not believe the department had the statutory authority to pay. The governor's office said they will not be cutting a check either. Tiffin school officials said they didn't really expect the state to send the money. "We were just trying to make the governor aware that the current way we are funding our schools is still not working," the Tiffin school board president said.

    April 9, 2004- Headlines

    Following are "headlines" that appeared in Ohio newspapers over the last ten days. You will recall that last week the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives said teachers and principals and superintendents were "pretty pleased' with state efforts to adequately fund Ohio schools. With similar "headlines" appearing almost daily, how could one believe people are pleased?

    Elyria school board plans cuts, tax
    The school board voted Wednesday to make more than $1.2 million in budget cuts next year.

    Mixed reaction to Beachwood school meeting
    It was the second meeting in two weeks when the public was given the chance to question the school board about recent layoffs of nine teachers and 21 other employees. People also asked about retirement packages offered to 12 teachers and two other workers.

    Cleveland schools' cuts may put more students on foot next year
    Cleveland school officials must cut $10 million from the transportation budget, which will probably translate into more students walking to school and middle-schoolers returning to public transportation.

    Solon schools will cut 22 jobs to erase deficit
    Solon schools will plug next year's projected $1.4 million budget gap by dismissing 22 employees.

    Mentor school board wants tax boost
    The Mentor district was placed into state fiscal emergency early this year. School officials reacted to the deficit by laying off more than 220 employees and eliminating some busing and school-funding of athletics and other activities.

    Sides try to avoid teacher layoffs
    Akron school board, union meet to discuss retirement incentives. School board and union leaders met for two hours behind closed doors Monday evening to discuss a retirement incentive package to avoid teacher layoffs.

    Canton City teachers notified of layoffs
    Twenty-eight Canton City Schools teachers received layoff letters Thursday -- including six who were let go during the district's last round of budget cuts.

    Medina schools weigh cuts
    The chief of Medina City Schools on Friday proposed cutting as many as 110 jobs for next school year as part of a plan to save the district between $4 million and $6 million annually.

    Music programs, sports off hook under new Columbus school plan
    But there will be a price for restoring those programs cut because $66 million still needs to be trimmed from next school year’s budget to help close a total deficit of $85 million.

    Hilliard panel suggests ways to ease school overcrowding
    A committee made up mostly of parents has created 10 possible responses to the overcrowding in Hilliard’s two high schools. Hilliard’s identical high schools were each built to house 1,800 students. Together, they housed 3,926 students as of Thursday.

    London schools will try again for income tax
    The superintendent predicts that if the November levy issue fails, the board will be forced to borrow money from the state to run the new building and avoid a projected $1.6 million deficit by June 2005.

    Swanton to borrow against tax receipts
    Facing a $750,000 deficit, the Swanton Local School District Board of Education yesterday voted unanimously to take the first step toward borrowing funds against anticipated revenue from a recently approved income tax levy.

    Tiffin school board approves $1.2M in cuts
    The Tiffin Board of Education approved nearly $1.2 million in budget cuts last night, including teacher layoffs and deep cuts in extracurricular activities for middle school and high school students.

    Genoa schools approve cuts if levy still fails after recount
    The Genoa school board voted last night to lay off more than 30 employees, eliminate high school busing, and institute a pay-to-play system for sports and clubs as part of $1.23 million in budget cuts.

    April 8, 2004- Teacher Not "Pretty Pleased" Either

    OEA President Gary Allen responded to Ohio House Speaker Householder's comment last week that it was teachers and principals who were "pretty pleased' with state efforts to adequately fund Ohio schools. Allen said, in a letter to the Speaker, "Let me state clearly that the Ohio Education Association, which represents 131,000 teachers, education support and higher education faculty members, IS NOT SATISFIED with the state of school funding in Ohio. In fact, we are deeply troubled by your statement."

    Read OEA President Gary Allen’s letter. Click:

    April 7, 2004- For-profit Education Gaining Strength

    For-profit K-12 education is gaining strength, according to an article in Education Week. The article cites Eduventures, Inc., a research firm that tracks for-profit education businesses and supports the growth of organizations operating in the corporate, post-secondary and pre-K-12 learning markets. Eduventures said K-12 for-profit education companies saw their revenues grow 2.7 percent last year, to $50.1 billion. This compares to a 1 percent increase in revenues in 2002. Eduventures also predicts that fully online education market revenure will grow 38 percent in 2004 to reach $5.1 billion.

    The article said one major reason for the growth is the No Child Left Behind law, which has generated opportunities for companies in areas such as supplemental education services, assessment, and professional development. Another reason for the growth, though not mentioned in the article, is access to public funds where for-profit companies can establish charter schools.

    Read the Education Week article. Click: Education Industry Eyes Opportunities in ‘No Child’ Law

    April 6, 2004- Nebraska Says No To Mandatory Testing

    Nebraska has succeeded in saying no to mandatory statewide tests. As a result, Nebraska education Commissioner Douglas Christensen has been hailed as a visionary and derided as an obstructionist. "I don't give a damn what No Child Left Behind says," Christensen said. "I think education is far too complex to be reduced to a single score. We decided we were going to take No Child Left Behind and integrate it into our plan, not the other way around. If it's bad for kids, we're not going to do it." Read article. Click: Nebraska shuns mandatory statewide tests

    April 5, 2004- Uddate: NCLB/Blue Ribbon Task Force

    Friday's AASA Legislative Corps Weekly Report said some 23 state legislatures are currently working on some type of action on NCLB. The legislation passed or under consideration ranges from memorial resolutions asking Congress to revisit the law, to bills that demand no state funds be spent on NCLB activities, to outright prohibitions from participation in NCLB.

    On the state level, the Governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Financing Student Achievement appears to be going nowhere. According to the Associated Press, Governor Taft warned schools not to forget their own financial obligations. "School funding is still a partnership. As long as we have local control of schools there's a responsibility on the part of local communities to also be a partner in adequately funding school districts," Taft said. Read article, Click: PERSPECTIVE: Funding committee debates as schools' money worries grow

    April 2, 2004- The 126 Appalachian Schools Districts

    An annual publication of the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools is "Vital Statistics," a comparison of the 126 school districts in the 29 Appalachian counties to all districts in Ohio. The 2003 edition will be available in May. The following is a brief look at what some of the 2003 data show. Average Expenditure Per Pupil (Expenditure Flow Model) Ohio $7,822 Appalachian $7,329 Average Property Valuation Per Pupil Ohio $109,403 Appalachian $78,879 Average Teacher Salary Ohio $43,397 Appalachian $39,499 Median Income (Per State Return 2001) Ohio $30,196 Appalachian $25,174 Some interesting comparisons between the 2002 and 2003 "Vital Statistics" include: 1. The gap between Ohio and Appalachian districts Average Per Pupil Expenditure decreased by $74. 2. The Average Property Valuation Per Pupil in Appalachian districts decreased by $378. 3. The gap between Ohio and Appalachian districts Average Teacher Salary increased by $198. 4. The Median Income Per State Return 2000 decreased in 2001 by $973 in Ohio and $636 in Appalachian districts. The full report, containing data in 11 categories for each of the 126 Ohio Appalachian school districts, will be mailed to CORAS members the first of May. The final report will show highs and lows in the Appalachian region, in addition to looking at the Appalachian districts as compared to all school districts in Ohio. Non-members wanting a copy of the report should e-mail request and mailing address to A summary of the data will also be published on the CORAS website. Data Source: Ohio Department of Education

    April 1, 2004- CORAS Presents "School Funding Issues"

    The Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools (CORAS) will sponsor a meeting on "School Funding Issues" as part of the annual Hicks Executive-in-Residence program at Ohio University. The "School Funding Issues" program will be held from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Thursday, April 29, 2004 at the Ohio University Inn, Athens. Hicks honoree Dr. Julie Underwood and Perry County Common Pleas Court Judge Linton D. Lewis, Jr. will be the featured speakers. Dr. Underwood, former Dean of the School of Education at Miami University, is now Deputy Executive Director and General Legal Counsel for the National School Boards Association. Judge Lewis, the trial court judge in the Ohio school funding lawsuit DeRolph v. State of Ohio, ruled in July 1994 that Ohio's school funding system is unconstitutional and that education in Ohio is a fundamental right. Registration materials will be mailed to CORAS members this week. Others may register by calling Lori at (740) 593-4445. There is a $15.00 registration fee which includes continental breakfast and lunch. CORAS MEMBERS SHOULD REGISTER ASAP! Registrations may be limited because of seating capacity.

    March 31, 2004- Moratorium On Creating New Charter Schools

    State Senator Teresa Fedor, D-Toledo, introduced a bill in the Ohio Senate yesterday that would place a two-year moratorium on the creation of new charter schools not affiliated with public school districts. During the two-year moratorium, a review would be conducted to examine the effectiveness of existing charter schools. In addition, the bill increases the fine from $100 to $1,000 for a charter school failing to report statistical data to the state. According to the Toledo Blade, State Representative Jon Husted, R-Kettering, said he doesn't believe the bill will make it to the Republican-controlled House.

    March 30, 2004- "...too costly to political career..."

    Last evening (March 29) Channel 10 TV in Columbus reported that State Representative John Widowfield, 42nd Ohio House District, is pushing legislation that would allow school officials to place on the ballot a county-wide sales tax. The proceeds would be distributed among all county districts according to pupil population ratios. Rep. Widowfield introduced the bill (H. B. 356) back on December 18, 2003. CORAS reported on the bill at that time. It has been seven years since the Supreme Court ordered "a complete systematic overhaul" of Ohio's school funding system, Legislators have ignored the ruling, claiming it's too costly. H.B. 356 appears to be another attempt by legislators to shift their responsibility for providing sufficient funding for schools to superintendents and local boards of education. The push for H.B. 356 coincides with Lee Leonard's ed-op article in the Columbus Dispatch yesterday, "Legislators Lack Spine When Confronting The State’s Budget Realities." Leonard summed up the editorial accurately when he said, "Too costly in Statehouse-speak doesn’t refer to money. It means it’s too costly to a political career to stand up and do the job." Read H.B. 356 analyses. Click: HB 356 As Introduced
    Read the Leonard ed-op article. Click: Lee Leonard: Legislators lack spine when confronting the state’s budget realities

    March 29, 2004- OFT: Delay Graduation Test/Eliminate Charter Schools

    The Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) is asking the state board of education and the legislature to delay making the Ohio Graduation Test a requirement for a high school diploma. OFT leaders said they want a two-year delay for the exam because teachers and students have not had enough time to prepare and because state lawmakers have not fulfilled their promise to pay for extra help for students who are lagging. OFT President Tom Mooney pointed out that the state's method of funding schools has not been fixed. He said, "There are still 3-1 disparities between the richest and poorest districts, yet we insist all kids pass the same test. That's just wrong." Ohio Department of Education officials indicated they understand OFT's concerns, but believe there has been enough time for teachers and schools to prepare for the exam. ODE said students will get seven chances to pass the test. The Ohio Education Association (OEA) is neutral on the issue, according to their spokesperson.

    In addition, the OFT will consider pursuing a statewide ballot referendum to eliminate charter schools, if the General Assembly doesn't take action by July to stop the opening of new charter schools. According to media reports, OFT leaders said no new charter schools should open until the state finds a system for sponsoring and monitoring charter schools which ensures that the interests of students and taxpayers are protected.

    March 26, 2004- Speaker Backpedaling

    Today's Columbus Dispatch said House Speaker Larry Householder is "backpedaling." According to the Dispatch, the Speaker is now saying "he had discussed state funding with "school people," including teachers and principals, in New Lexington and Northern Local school districts, both in Perry County. Northern Local includes Sheridan High School."

    The Dispatch said the Speaker "kicked up a storm when he commented earlier this week on the seventh anniversary of the school-funding court decision." Speaker Householder said, "My (legislative-district) superintendents certainly support what we've done so far. They wish we could do more, but they understand the budget constraints we're under. I think they're pretty pleased."

    Read the Dispatch article. Click: School chiefs scold speaker

    March 25, 2004- Not "Pretty Pleased" With School Funding Effort

    Yesterday the Columbus Dispatch, in an excellent article focusing on the school-funding efforts by the state, reported that House Speaker Larry Householder said, "My (legislative-district) superintendents certainly support what we've done so far. They wish we could do more, but they understand the budget constraints we're under. I think they're pretty pleased."

    The Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools (CORAS) followed-up[ on the Speaker's comments yesterday by asking members to respond to the question, "Are you 'pretty pleased' with State efforts over the last seven-years to fix school-funding in Ohio?" By the end of the day Wednesday, 30 CORAS members had responded with a resounding NO! Not one superintendent in the Appalachian region, which includes the Speaker's district, responded saying they were :pretty pleased" [or pleased using any descriptive adjective] with the states effort to fix school-funding. In fact, many added commentary denouncing the efforts as woefully inadequate.

    March 24, 2004- "Pretty Pleased" With School Funding Efforts?

    An article in today's Columbus Dispatch, "Funding Schools Still a Dilemma," quotes House Speaker Larry Householder. The article focuses on school-funding efforts during the seven-years since the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Ohio's system of financing public schools to be unconstitutional (March 24, 1997). According to the Dispatch, the Speaker, who represents Perry, Hocking and parts of Pickaway and Licking counties said, My (school-district) superintendents certainly support what we've done so far. They wish we could do more, but they understand the budget constraints we're under. I think they're pretty pleased."

    The speaker's comment, "I think they're pretty pleased," referring to school-funding and "my superintendents," is a bit puzzling. Therefore, CORAS would like to know what school superintendents throughout rural Appalachia Ohio think. We ask you to please complete and return the following survey question ASAP.


    Check one of the following:

    Are you "pretty pleased" with State efforts over the last seven-years to fix school-funding in Ohio?



    Return survey response to: Dick Fisher,

    March 23, 2004- New Associate Superintendent For School Finance

    According to today's Columbus Dispatch, Paolo DeMaria, Governor Taft's top policy man since 2000, will become associate superintendent for school finance at the Ohio Department of Education. The Dispatch said the appointment becomes effective April 19, pending state board of education approval. DeMaria, an 18-year veteran of state government, previously served as budget director for former Governor George Voinovich. We all know the Taft-Voinovich record on school funding!

    March 22, 2004- High School Diploma Losing Value

    The American Diploma Project (ADP), a two-year study involving governors, businesses, educators and researchers from around the nation, is calling for an upgrade of high school English and math courses for all students.

    The ADP report, released in February 2004, said the high school diploma is losing value. The study found a growing number of graduates leave school without math and reading skills that colleges and employers demand. The report said high school exit exams that most states require students to pass to graduate is far too easy because most test eighth and ninth-grade level work.

    Achieve Inc., The Education Trust and the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation launched the American Diploma Project two-years ago. Gannett News Service reported that Ohio Governor Bob Taft, Achieve's co-chairman, said, "In Ohio, three in 10 students who go directly to college end up taking remedial English and math classes. It's evidence that the current high-school graduating standards are not preparing students."

    Read more about the project. Click: Creating a High School Diploma That Counts For an executive summary, Click: Download a PDF file of the executive summary For the full report: Click: Download a PDF file of the full print report

    March 19, 2004- Health Insurance Costs Hitting Classroom

    An article in today's USA Today has the sub-headline, "The struggle over surging health care costs is hitting the classroom as schools increasingly cut teachers to textbooks to pay for insurance." According to the survey by the Association of School Business Officials International, covering medical insurance has led to cuts in building maintenance, classroom aides, teacher training and technology. The survey found that school officials try to spare the classroom but often cannot because options for raising money are limited, school budgets are dominated by personnel costs and insurance soars like no other expense.

    USA Today said, "More than nine out of 10 of those officials surveyed said school health insurance is a bigger problem now than ever; more than half said these costs have jumped at least 20 percent in three years." Adding, school administrators say "cutting teachers' benefits is not a popular option. It is politically difficult in districts with union representation and it does not help districts retain or recruit highly qualified teachers."

    March 18, 2004- Research Team Reports Findings

    On Tuesday, March 16, 2004, Dr. Aimee Howley and Dr. Larry Burgess reported the major findings of the CORAS research study, "Who Will Lead Our Schools?" Thirty-four CORAS superintendents and guests, along with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Zelman, braved the elements to participate in the program. Over 60 people registered for the meeting, but the late winter storm prevented many from the northeast and southwest Appalachian counties from attending. Nevertheless, a very informative and productive program, including the research team, were introduced by CORAS/COE Research Committee chairperson Dr. Max Evans. Dr. Evans gave a historical overview of the research project. Prior to Dr. Howley presenting the major findings of the study, small groups were formed to identify questions to "ask of the data." Answers were then generated through computer analysis and discussion. State Superintendent Zelman, who was introduced by Dr. Dennis Meade, delivered the luncheon address. She invited the CORAS research team to work jointly with Ohio Department of Education to further develop and enhance "leadership" research. The meeting opened with CORAS President Bob Caldwell introducing Dr. Julie Owens, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Ohio University, who discussed a proposed behavior support program for schools.

    March 17, 2004- Rules Eased For "Highly Qualified"

    According to USA Today, the U.S. Department of Education announced Monday that rural teachers, science teachers and those who teach multiple subjects will get leeway in showing they are highly qualified under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.

    The changes reported by USA Today are:

    * Rural teachers have until spring 2007, three years from now, to show they are qualified in all topics they teach. Newly hired rural teachers will get three years from their hire date. Non rural teachers will have extra time to prove they are qualified in all their subjects, provided they are highly qualified in at least one subject and get training in the others. USA Today said the change will affect an estimated one-third of the school districts in the United States.

    * States are permitted to allow science teachers to show they are highly qualified in the broad field of science, not necessarily in chemistry, biology, or every field of science they teach. States can decide whether to require mastery of individual science disciplines. The law continues to be specific about core subjects such as history, economics and civics. USA Today said this could significantly ease pressure on rural schools, which may only have one science teacher.

    * Under the NCLB law, states must set a standard that existing teachers can meet to show they are qualified in each subject without having to take a test or get a new degree. Teachers may qualify, for example, based on such factors as professional training or publishing of articles. A procedural change makes clear that current teachers don't have to go through this evaluation process for each subject they teach; states can decide whether to give teachers overlapping credit for similar subjects, such as those in the social sciences.

    March 16, 2004- Ohio Regional Education Delivery System

    The plan for the Ohio Regional Education Delivery System (OREDS) was accepted by the State Board of Education earlier this month. It was delivered to the Ohio General Assembly on March 11, 2004. To Read the final plan, click: Ohio Regional Education Delivery System: Final Plan Accepted by the State Board of Education and Delivered to the Ohio General Assembly

    March 15, 2004- DeRolph/E&A Coalition Efforts Aid School Districts

    Over the past several years many rural Appalachian school districts have built and equipped new school facilities. Having the opportunity to build these new schools is a direct result of the DeRolph/E&A Coalition litigation efforts. A recent article in the Newark Advocate said, "Thanks to the [DeRolph] case, the state started the Ohio School Facilities Commission, which has helped fund the construction of 155 new school buildings." On March 1, 2004 the Columbus Dispatch said the Ohio School Facilities Commission was launched in 1997 as a response to an Ohio Supreme Court ruling [DeRolph] that found the way the state finances public schools to be unconstitutional. The Dispatch added that the court was particularly concerned about the poor condition of many school buildings. We all know the General Assembly and the Governor have refused to fix the Ohio school-funding system, as ordered by the Supreme Court. However, many rural Appalachian districts have had the opportunity to replace their outdated school buildings. ( Click for Statewide Map of OSFC-Funded Projects ) Some politicians seek credit for these improvements, but let us not forget that DeRolph/E&A Coalition caused it to happen.

    March 12, 2004- Value-Added Assessment System

    The Tennessee legislature may reconsider the Value-Added Assessment System. According to Education Week, the value-added system in Tennessee uses students' learning gains to evaluate the effectiveness of their teachers. At issue is not the value-added method itself, but a step used before calculating the scores. Read the article in Education Week. Click: Tennessee Reconsiders Value-Added Assessment System
    The Education Trust released a report in February 2004 that argues value-added measures offer the best way to identify and reward effective teachers and to get more such teachers into the classrooms of poor and minority students. Read the Education Trust Report: Click: "The Real Value of Teachers: Using New Information about Teacher Effectiveness to Close the Achievement Gap," (Requires Adobe's Acrobat Reader.)

    March 11, 2004- Study Supports Full-day Kindergarten

    A national study has found that children who entered kindergarten in 1998 and attended full-day kindergarten programs that year outscored their counterparts in half-day programs on tests of mathematics, reading, and general knowledge. The findings, published February 24, 2004 by Educational Policy Analysis Archives, are based on a federal study of 22,000 children.

    Researchers also found that pupils who spent the first year of school in classes of 24 or more children posted lower marks on the same tests than their peers in smaller classes.

    To read the study, Click: "The Effect of Kindergarten Program Types and Class Size on Early Academic Performance," (Report requires Adobe's Acrobat Reader.)

    March 10, 2004- Resolution Seeking Full Funding Of NCLB

    Senate Minority Leader Greg DiDonato introduced a resolution into the Ohio Senate on Monday asking President Bush and Congress to fully fund the federal mandates in No Child Left Behind. According to Gannett News Service, Senator DiDonato was joined by a variety of education advocacy groups, including those representing superintendents, treasurers and teachers. DiDonato said, "If Congress is not going to pay for the funding of this mandate, I think we need to look at some other states and possibly opting out of the areas were we do not get the funds."

    March 9, 2004- State Budget Cuts, Basic Aid Spared

    Yesterday Governor Taft ordered $100 million in spending cuts to help balance the state budget this year. He said the problem will get worse next year. Basic aid to K-12 public schools and universities will not be cut. The Cleveland Plain Dealer said all other state agencies, including the State Department of Education and the Board of Regents, must find ways to cut 4 percent of their current fiscal year's budget. They must also take another 6 percent off the top starting July 1.Yesterday Governor Taft ordered $100 million in spending cuts to help balance the state budget this year. He said the problem will get worse next year. Basic aid to K-12 public schools and universities will not be cut. The Cleveland Plain Dealer said all other state agencies, including the State Department of Education and the Board of Regents, must find ways to cut 4 percent of their current fiscal year's budget. They must also take another 6 percent off the top starting July 1.

    The Plain Dealer estimated the cuts to the Ohio Department of Education at $19.6 million this year and $29.4 million next year. Their estimate for the Ohio Board of Regents is a $13.6 million cut for this year and a $20.7 million next year. Media reports said the governor projected tax receipts to fall $247 million below estimates for this fiscal year and an additional shortfall of $300 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2004.

    March 8, 2004- Rising Cost Of Health Insurance

    In a survey of its membership across the United States, the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) in Reston, VA found that the rising cost of health insurance is leaving less money for school facilities maintenance, teaching positions, technology upgrades, and professional development for teachers. Of those responding to the survey:

    * A vast majority (95%) said that the cost of health insurance in their district is

    a bigger problem now than ever before. Over 90% place the blame on the basic

    cost of health insurance.

    * Almost half (49.8%) spend 9% or more of their operations budget on health

    insurance. Another 30% spend between 6% and 8%.

    * More than half (55%) replied that the amount spent on health benefits had

    gone up more than 21% over the last three years; 17% said costs had risen a

    startling 40% or more.

    * Almost 62% indicated that the rising cost of health insurance has had some

    negative effect on their ability to implement the No Child Left Behind Act.

    * More than half indicated they reduced their building maintenance budget

    because of the rising cost of health insurance; 43% cut back on teaching

    positions and another 40% have trimmed technology upgrades and professional

    development for teachers.

    According to the report, fewer than 7% of school districts pay full individual health insurance for their employees.

    March 5, 2004- Are More Cuts Coming?

    A headline in today's Toledo Blade reads, "Ohio faces $94 million shortfall in revenue, Governor’s office looks at options to bridge gap." The article said, "State government’s books are seeping red ink again, reviving talk of budget cuts or some other mid-year course of action. Revenue fell $94 million below projections through the first eight months of the fiscal year. Tax collections specifically were off by $111 million." According to the article, the Office of Budget and Management would not project how much the shortfall could grow by June 30, the end of the fiscal year. State Senator Randy Gardner told the Blade he doesn’t expect education to be on a hit list if cuts become necessary. However, a spokesman for the Governor said, "We are looking at our options and will make an announcement soon. The legislature won’t necessarily be involved. We've done this before." Read the article. Click: Ohio faces $94 million shortfall in revenue as governor’s office looks at options to bridge gap

    March 4, 2004- Election Results For School Issues

    There were 228 school issues on the March 2, 2004 primary ballot. One hundred seven issues were successful, resulting in a 46.93% passage rate. Tuesday's passage rate for school tax issues is the lowest in 10 years. View the March 2 election results on the Ohio Department of Education website. Click:

    March 3, 2004- School Funding Top Issue

    A poll released last week by the National PTA found that 55 percent of the public school parents responding to the poll ranked school funding as the top issue facing public schools, eclipsing both school safety and quality. Over 90 percent of the parents said education would play a major role in their decisions about which presidential candidate to support in the November election.

    To read the report, Click: "National PTA Education Funding Poll: Summary and Key Findings," (Report requires Adobe's Acrobat Reader.)

    March 2, 2004- School Fund-Raising

    Nationwide, according to the Association of Fund-Raising Distributors and Supplies, professional fund-raising businesses helped schools earn more than $2 billion at fund-raising events during the 2002-03 school year.

    March 1, 2004- Call Mr. Marshall

    The following is a quote from the Sunday, February 29, 2004 Coshocton Tribune. "Right now superintendents have a difficult time explaining what the district is going to buy if given more money. It all just goes into the pot." .....Paul Marshall, Executive Director of the Governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Financing Student Success How to contact Paul Marshall: Phone: (614) 728-8502 Email:

    February 27, 2004- Ignoring The Rule Of Law

    With more than one-third of Ohio's school districts on the ballot with levies this coming Tuesday, Governor Taft said yesterday, "Ohioans have to remember that school funding remains a partnership, a local-state partnership." As school districts across Ohio struggle for resources, the Governor continues to ignore the rule of law. Ohio's leaders have evidently forgotten the rule of law, along with due process, are the bedrock upon which all American liberty and justice are based. They most certainly remember that Ohio's Supreme Court has ruled, on three separate occasions, that Ohio's public education system is unconstitutional because of disparities between rich and poor districts created by over-reliance on local property taxes. Likewise, they will recall the Court also held that public education in Ohio is a state system.

    February 26, 2004- HB 102..."Sailing Through The Legislature."??

    The Cleveland Plain Dealer said yesterday that House Bill 102 is "sailing through the legislature." The bill would allow school districts more flexibility in their annual school calendar. HB 102 defines the school year as 910 instructional hours per year for elementary schools and 1,001 hours for high schools. The Ohio House has already approved the bill, which is now being debated in the Senate Education Committee.

    The proposed legislation provides the flexibility for school districts to adopt a four-day school week. According to the Plain Dealer, at least 10 states allow the shorter school week and it has been adopted by more than 100 school districts, mostly small and rural. The bill would also allow more flexibility for make-up time in weather related school closings.

    The Plain Dealer said the State Board of Education, the Ohio Department of Education, the Ohio Association of Independent Schools and the Ohio School Boards Association support the bill.

    February 25, 2004- For-Profit Education Continues To Grow

    Profiles for For-Profit Education Management Companies, Sixth Annual Report 2003-04, a study conducted by Education Policy Studies Laboratory at Arizona State University, said the number of public schools managed by for-profit education management companies continues to grow. This school year, 51 education management companies run 463 public schools, which enroll 200,400 students in 28 states and the District of Columbia, the report says. That's an increase from 13 education management companies managing schools in 15 states five years ago.

    The report said 81 percent of the total number of schools run by for-profit companies are charter schools. That's an increase from 74 percent in 2002-03. In addition, four for-profit companies manage 17 virtual schools, enrolling more than 10,500 students in 11 states, according to the study.

    Click to read the study. "Profiles of For-Profit Education Management Firms," (Requires Adobe's Acrobat Reader.)

    February 24, 2004- Teacher Association Outraged

    The Washington Post said U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige referred to the National Education Association as a "terrorist organization" Monday. The Post article said Secretary Paige made the comment to the nation's governors at a private White House meeting. According to media reports, the Secretary later apologized, saying, "he chose the wrong words to describe 'the obstructionist scare tactics' of NEA lobbyists."

    February 23, 2004- Federal Education Budget To Decrease After 2005

    According to an article in Saturday's Cleveland Plain Dealer, the federal education budget shows an increase from $63.26 billion to $66.4 billion next year (2005). But the total would immediately drop in 2006 and would fall to $63.6 billion by 2007.

    That is less than 1 percent above current spending. If you include inflation, it would actually represent a decrease. The Plain Dealer also pointed out, "It's 4 percent less than Bush's much-touted increase for 2005."

    February 20, 2004- Survey Of The American Teacher

    Principals say inspiring faculty members and students is their most important job, but teachers believe their school leaders should spend more time on test scores, an annual survey released last week concludes

    "The Metropolitan Life Survey of the American Teacher 2003: An Examination of School Leadership" was conducted by Harris Interactive, a Rochester, N.Y.- based market-research firm. The survey, which is part of a series of polls that have studied the opinions of educators, parents, and students since 1984, found that 75 percent of principals said motivating faculty and students to achieve was their chief priority; smaller majorities of teachers, 55 percent, and parents, 60 percent, agreed. Meanwhile, 61 percent of teachers and 45 percent of parents felt that test scores were principals' top priority.

    Asked to determine what percentage of time their principals spend on various aspects of their jobs, teachers believe that principals spend 37 percent of their time on "reporting and compliance" and 24 percent of their time on guiding and motivating the faculty. Principals, however, said they spent 35 percent of their time on guiding and motivating teachers and 24 percent of their time on reporting and compliance.

    Download The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, 2003

    February 19, 2004- NCLB: What Some States Are Doing

    * In Utah, the Republican-controlled House voted 64-8 last week not to comply with any provisions for which the federal government has not supplied enough money. The bill, which now goes to the Senate, represents the strongest position yet taken by lawmakers around the country. * In Virginia, the GOP-controlled House of Delegates approved by a 98-1 vote last month a resolution calling on Congress to exempt Virginia without penalty from "the most sweeping intrusions into state and local control of education in the history of the United States."

    * In Hawaii, lawmakers approved a resolution last year asking state education administrators to consider giving up No Child Left Behind funding until Congress provides more money.

    * In New Hampshire, state officials are fighting the U.S. Education Department over who pays for student testing after legislators reduced state funding for testing to just $1.

    * In Arizona and New Mexico, lawmakers earlier this month introduced legislation to exempt their states from No Child Left Behind.

    * Vermont passed a law last June prohibiting school districts from incurring any costs under No Child Left Behind that are not paid for by the federal government. So far, five Vermont districts have said no thanks to the program, giving up small amounts of federal assistance.

    * In Minnesota, on the eve of U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige's tour of a St. Paul school, the Senate Education Committee gave preliminary approval to a bill to remove Minnesota from the No Child Left Behind Act. A Minnesota State Senator said, "The message this sends is that the people of Minnesota don't want the federal government making decisions about what goes on in the local classrooms."

    February 18, 2004- NSF Research Grants

    Education Week reported last week that, as part of his budget plan for fiscal year 2005, President Bush has "recommended stripping $140 million for math and science education research away from the National Science Foundation and giving it to the U.S. Department of Education." According to the report, key lawmakers, researchers, and math and science educators voiced outrage over the proposal. Critics charged the proposed move is an attempt by the Bush administration to set the research agenda for how those subjects are taught in the nation's classrooms. U.S. Education Department officials said the change is necessary to align the grant program with the No Child Left Behind Act, and to conduct more research in secondary mathematics instruction.

    February 17, 2004- "The Rush To The Ballot..."

    The Akron Beacon Journal reported Sunday that Ohio will have 223 school tax issues on the March 2 ballot, the highest since 1992 and the third highest since 1970. The Beacon Journal suggests the number of requests for additional local taxes may be an indicator of "what may be developing as one of the toughest financial periods for schools in years."

    The ABJ added, "The rush to the ballot comes after the state legislature and Gov. Bob Taft cut funding to schools and passed a two-year budget that will give districts less money than they had expected. The cuts came in spite of a 1-cent increase in the state sales tax and five Ohio Supreme Court rulings that have said school funding is unconstitutional because it relies too heavily on property taxes."

    February 16, 2004- Response Differs With NCLB Act

    According to the AASA Legislative Corps Weekly Report (February 12, 2004), Secretary of Education Rod Paige, testifying before the House Budget Committee on February 11, 2004, was asked about NCLB's Sec. 9527(a). He replied that federal dollars are only meant to supplement, not supplant state and local effort. In addition, he told the panel that the Department never intended to pay for everything, and the law does not say that they should. ''SEC. 9527. PROHIBITIONS ON FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND USE OF FEDERAL FUNDS. "(a) GENERAL PROHIBITION.-Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize an officer or employee of the Federal Government to mandate, direct, or control a State, local educational agency, or school's curriculum, program of instruction, or allocation of State or local resources, or mandate a State or any subdivision thereof to spend any funds or incur any costs not paid for under this Act." The AASA Weekly Report said Secretary Paige's response is in direct conflict with Sec. 9527(a), which is being used by several states that are challenging NCLB.

    February 13, 2004- States Fighting NCLB

    On Thursday, USA Today said, "Lawmakers in Virginia, Utah and seven other states are taking steps to opt out or block using state funds for No Child Left Behind, calling the law an intrusion on local control." The seven other states cited by USA Today were Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Arizona, Hawaii, Minnesota, and New Mexico.

    USA Today referenced The Christian Science Monitor, who went further, saying "from Utah to Virginia, a revolt is building in classrooms and legislatures" against the No Child Left Behind Act. The Monitor listed examples of how the "revolt" has been growing:

    • Several districts in Vermont and Connecticut have refused federal funds rather than comply with all No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandates. A district in Pennsylvania is suing the state over what it sees as inequities in the law.

    • At least seven states have passed resolutions criticizing the law or asking for federal waivers on some requirements.

    • Maine is considering a bill, similar to one in Vermont, to prevent state funding of reforms.

    • In Utah, a bill to opt out of NCLB entirely (and so forgo many federal funds) has passed the house education committee.

    February 12, 2004- Increases Offset By Cuts?

    According to the February 10, 2004, AASA National Update, "The Bush Administration proudly announced February 2 that it is asking Congress for $1.6 billion in total increases for Department of Education programs, with $1 billion more for IDEA and a $1 billion add for Title I. Then, to no one's surprise, Secretary Paige unveiled $1.4 billion in cuts and the elimination of 16 programs-such as Even Start, Comprehensive School Reform, Parental Assistance Information Centers, K-12 counseling and arts education-to offset his recommended 'increases.'" In addition, the AASA National Update said, "The amount the President is seeking for Title I, the centerpiece of No Child Left Behind, is $7.2 billion LESS than the amount he and the four members of Congress who wrote the bill had agreed to spend for the coming fiscal year."

    February 11, 2004- Providing Free School Meals, Ohio Ranks 48th

    Ohio ranks 48th in the nation in participation in free school meals, according to William Dolan, CEO of Children's Hunger Alliance. He said, "One out of every six kids in Ohio is at risk for hunger." Dolan wants to expand Ohio's school lunch and breakfast programs, requiring all schools with 20 percent of their students living below poverty to offer the free meals. Currently schools must offer the meals if one-third of their students live at or under the poverty level. The Children's Hunger Alliance is calling for snacks to be offered at all before- and after-school programs, and that school breakfast programs be reported on local district report cards. Dolan said, "All the money is there, but it's sitting in Washington, D.C., not being used." The regional office of the Children's Hunger Alliance is in the Red Cross Building, 401 Fourth Street, Marietta, OH 45750 Phone: (740) 374-8520 Email:

    February 10, 2004- White Hat Charter Schools Open In Florida

    White Hat Management, headed by Akron businessman David Brennan, will open charter schools in Florida for dropouts and a statewide online school. Brennan already has 19 such centers, serving 8,000 students, in Ohio, Arizona and Colorado. In Ohio, White Hat Management receives millions in local and state tax dollars to open for-profit charter schools that are free of many state regulations.

    February 9, 2004- Ohio First In Providing State Funds For Private Schools

    The Associated Press said Ohio spends more per pupil on private and religious schools than any other state in the nation. However, AP pointed out that according to the Congressional Quarterly, Ohio fell from 24th to 32nd among the states in its support of public schools during a six-year period in the 1990's. AP reported that Ohio will spend about $420 million in the current two-year budget on transportation, textbooks, internet connections and other expenses for private and religious schools.

    February 6, 2004- National Board Certification

    Three hundred eighty-three Ohio teachers earned national board certification for work completed during the 2002-03 school year. The Ohio Department of Education said Ohio ranks fifth nationally with 2,172 national board certificated teachers. Ohio teachers who complete the program before December 31, 2004 will receive a $2,500 annual stipend from the state for the 10-year life of the certificate. The Ohio Legislature has reduced the annual stipend to $1,000 for teachers completing the program after this date, according to ODE.

    February 5, 2004- Educator Standards Board

    On Wednesday the Ohio Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 2. The bill establishes an Educator Standards Board. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Board will develop standards for teachers and teacher training and submit them to the State Board of Education. The standards board will be made up of teachers, administrators and higher-education officials.

    The Plain Dealer said the bill will, among other things:

    * Require the State Board of Education to establish guidelines for school districts to evaluate teachers and principals.

    * Require the standards board to collaborate with colleges and universities to make sure their programs are aligned.

    * Require the standards board to set criteria for top-level teachers, known as "master teachers." School districts would eventually be required to report the number of master teachers at each school, which would be on their state report cards.

    * Require the Ohio Department of Education to set criteria for "hard to staff schools," taking into account teacher turnover rates, poverty rates and student performance. These schools would eventually be eligible for help in recruiting and retaining teachers.

    The Ohio House approved the bill last week by a vote off 88 to 9. The bill now goes to Governor Taft for signature.

    February 4, 2004- For-Profit Charter Schools Organize

    The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported yesterday that six of the nation's largest for-profit charter school operators have formed the National Council of Education Providers. The group is being organized to push for greater school choice. According to the Plain Dealer, the president and CEO of White Hat Ventures in Akron is among the founding members. White Hat is Ohio's largest charter school operator.

    February 3, 2004- Parent Surveys

    * More than 8 in 10 parents give themselves high marks (A's or B's) for involvement in their children's education. When assessing other parents, however, most (76%) give C's, D's and F's. .....By Anne R. Carey and Chad Palmer, USA Today, Source: TNS Intersearch * In a 2002 survey parents said their children, ages 6 to 11, cared less about school than they did five-years earlier. The survey found that 37.6% of parents in high-income families say their children "care about doing well in school" and "always do homework." This was down from 47.2% in 1997. Thirty percent of parents in low-income families said their children "care about doing well in school" and "always do homework," down from 37.9% in 1997. .....Sources: Urban Institute and Child Trends

    February 2, 2004- Behavior Support Program

    Prevention and Intervention for Behavior Problems. Schools in fourteen rural Appalachian counties may apply for FREE professional assistance to enhance prevention and intervention for behavior problems. Ohio University (Department of Psychology), Woodland Centers, and the SEO-SERRC, as partners, have received grant funds through the Ohio Department of Education to provide assistance to one school in Southeast Ohio. The grant managing team will assist the school with implementation of behavioral programs that have a substantial evidence base for reducing discipline problems in challenging youth and increasing time on task in all students. The goals of the project are to 1) assist the school in developing and/or strengthening their relationship with local mental health providers, and 2) assist with the implementation of the Youth Experiencing Success in School (Y.E.S.S.) Program and Positive Behavioral Support Program. Through this grant, University resources will be made more available to schools that typically may not have access to such resources. Eligible counties include: Adams, Belmont, Coshocton, Guernsey, Harrison, Jefferson, Lawrence, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Muskingum, Perry, Scioto, and Washington. Schools who are interested in learning more about the grant, can sign up to connect to a live information presentation via video conference to be held at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 20th, 2004. Contact Bridget Stephens at 1-800-882-6186 or

    January 30, 2004- National Website To Track School Data

    A new website launched yesterday will serve as a clearinghouse for new state report cards on education, including data for school districts and school buildings. The website is designed to present information so parents, educators and policy-makers can make comparisons across districts and track student progress. According to the Associated Press, the U. S. Education Department and The Broad Foundation are sharing the $9 million cost of the project's first phase. Delaware, Florida, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, the first states to have data posted, are online. The plan is to include all 50 states by this summer. Check out the website. Click:

    January 29, 2004- Seeks Exemption From NCLB

    A Washington Post report said the Republican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates sharply criticized the President's No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) as "an unfunded mandate that threatens to undermine the state's own efforts to improve students' performance." The House of Delegates passed a resolution last Friday, 98 to1, calling on Congress to exempt Virginia from the NCLB requirements. The law "represents the most sweeping intrusions into state and local control of education in the history of the United States," the resolution says, and will cost "literally millions of dollars that Virginia does not have." The Post added, "The action in the Virginia House represents one of the strongest formal criticisms to date from a legislative chamber controlled by the president's own party."

    January 28, 2004- CORAS News

    Defying the weather yesterday, 30 school superintendents and others attended the CORAS meeting at the Zanesville Holiday Inn. Roger Nehls, Marilyn Troyer and Mitchell Chester from the Ohio Department of Education lead the discussion on the No Child Left Behind Act and the proposed Ohio Regional Educational Delivery System. The next CORAS meeting is set for Tuesday, March 16, 2004 at the Olde Dutch Restaurant in Logan. The scheduled presentation will bring closure to the three-year CORAS research project, "Who Will Lead Our Schools?" This will be an interactive session, using data from the study to answer questions and draw conclusions about leadership in Ohio schools and what principals, superintendents and board members can do to enhance this leadership. The facilitators/presenters will be researchers Drs. Aimee Howley and Larry Burgess. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Susan Zelman will be the keynote speaker. Mark this date on your calendar!

    January 27, 2004- Attitudes On NCLB

    The National Education Association surveyed 1,005 voters for their views on the No Child Left Behind Act. Below are the percentages of responses to the question, From what you have seen or heard, would you say this law has had a positive or a negative impact on schools? SOURCES: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research Inc., the Tarrance Group Inc. and Education Week

    January 26, 2004- More On The Cost Of NCLB

    The report prepared by William Driscoll and Howard Fleeter, released in December 2003, said the cost of implementing the No Child Left Behind Act in Ohio will reach $1.447 billion by 2010. The Ohio Department of Education recruited 10 experts to review the study. Read the report and the study reviews.
  • Projected Costs of Implementing the Federal No Child Left Behind Act in Ohio - Driscoll and Fleeter Report
  • Study Reviews - Ten expert reviews
  • January 23, 2004- From High School To College

    * Ninety-four percent of Ohio's seniors have passed all five parts of the Ninth-Grade Proficiency Tests, according to results released Wednesday by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). The ODE website said there are 7,606 Ohio seniors who still must pass one or more parts of the test to qualify for graduation. These students will have two more opportunities this spring to do so. * A report released Thursday by the Ohio Board of Regents said Ohio college and university enrollment has grown 8.3 percent, from 543,811 to 589,138, between 1998 and 2002. However, Ohio still lags behind the national average in terms of residents with at least a bachelor's degree, 21 percent to 24 percent, according to census figures. * According to the Board of Regents report, the average in-state undergraduate tuition for Ohio's public four-year universities is $6,822 this academic year, 67 percent higher than the national level of $4,081. Ohio students pay 48 percent of the cost of their college education through tuition, compared to 31 percent nationwide.

    January 22, 2004- Election 2004: House/Senate Candidates

    * The 92nd House District (Athens, Meigs, Morgan and Washington counties) race will pit State Representative Jimmie Stewart, a Republican from Athens, against Democrat Pat Lang of Albany in the November election. Lang is a lawyer and former Athens City Council member. * Three Republicans are competing for the 88th House District (Adams, Brown and Clermont counties) seat in the March 2nd primary. They are: Harry Cooper Snyder, Curt Carl Hartman and Danny R. Bubp. The winner will face Democrat, and member of the State Board of Education, Cy Richardson.

    January 21, 2004- Providing Equity Counts Too

    The Ohio Department of Education news release for the January 13, 2004 State Board of Education business meeting said the positive grades Ohio received in Education Week’s “Quality Counts” were reported to the board. It went on to say, "The good grades included an A in Standards and Accountability and a B in Teacher Quality." The news release made no mention of the "bad grade" Ohio received for failing to provide equity in resources. Ohio received a D+ and ranked 39th of the 50 states in providing equitable resources for the state's public school children, according to "Quality Counts." Providing equity, or the failure to do so, counts too!

    Quality Counts 2004


    Student Achievement
    (NAEP 2003)
    4th graders proficient or above in math


    8th graders proficient
    or above in math


    4th graders proficient
    or above in reading


    8th graders proficient
    or above in reading


    Standards and Accountability........A

    Teacher Quality

    School Climate......................................C



    NOTES: *Indicates a statistically significant increase since the last administration of the exam.

    Compare Ohio to other states. Click: state report cards (open to full-page)

    Other ways to view the data. Click: compiled by state; or Compare data.

    January 20, 2004- "I believe that education is a fundamental right."

    In 1995 the Fifth District Court of Appeals overturned Perry County Common Pleas Court Judge Linton D. Lewis' decision that Ohio's system of funding public education was unconstitutional and that education in Ohio was a fundamental right. In his dissenting opinion, written on August 30, 1995, Fifth District Appellate District Judge W. Scott Gwin said, "I believe that education is a fundamental right. More than one-third of the entire state budget is devoted to education. An entire Article of our Constitution addresses public education, and it mandates that schools be adequately funded so that our schools are thorough and efficient. Finally, common sense dictates that nothing is more important to Ohio's children than to make them competitive and fulfilled personally. To hold otherwise is to bury our heads in the sand." Judge W. Scott Gwin is a candidate for a seat on the Ohio Supreme Court on the Democratic ticket in the March 2, 2004 primary election.

    January 19, 2004- Is Help On The Way?

    Is help on the way for schools? Barbara Carmen, a writer for the Columbus Dispatch, implies that possibility may be real. In her Sunday column, Will Voters, Lawmakers or Schools Flinch First?, Carmen wrote, "It was much easier for politicians to squirm out of tough, bold decisions when those complaining were poor. But those getting pinched now are politically active suburbanites. The mood is souring in the cul-de-sac."

    January 16, 2004- In The News...

    * Two affluent Cleveland area school districts are finding it difficult to balance their budgets. Beachwood teachers agreed to accept pay cuts, and the school board voted to cut some extracurricular jobs. Independence school officials will ask voters for an emergency tax increase in March. Independence anticipates an $800,000 deficit. Both districts blamed drops in property tax collections, particularly personal property taxes, which are levied on business inventories and equipment. Read the Akron Beacon Journal article. Click: Two affluent school districts struggling with deficits * If The Teaching Commission, a nonprofit commission of government, business and education leaders, formed in 2003 to improve the public teaching corps has its way, all teachers will find a significant portion of their salary increases tied to progress by their students, instead being based solely on a their experience and education. * A report evaluating the Cleveland voucher program, commissioned by the Ohio Department of Education and prepared by researchers from Indiana University, says when students' academic-achievement measures are adjusted to account for the influence of minority status and family income, there are virtually no differences in performance between Cleveland students who received vouchers to attend private schools and students who attend the public schools. * A report conducted by Market Data Retrieval, a market-research firm that tracks the educational technology market, says technology spending by schools in the United States for the 2002-03 academic year is estimated to be about $4.2 billion, a 25 percent drop from the previous school year.

    January 15, 2004- NCLB Will Cost Ohio $1.4 Billion

    Ohio has put a price on the federal No Child Left Behind Act: $1.5 billion a year. According to a study conducted by private consultants William Driscoll and Howard Fleeter, Ohio received only $44 million in increased federal aid for NCLB. That leaves more than $1.4 billion worth of unfunded mandates. The Ohio Department of Education, which spent $40,000 for the report, will seek analysis of the study by several national experts. Read the story in today's Columbus Dispatch. Click: Education overhaul priced at $1.5 billion

    January 14, 2004- "Moving Target"

    Ohio school districts will be measured by 23 criteria on their 2004-05 Local District Report Cards, up from 18 indicators this year. The proposal, approved unanimously by a State Board of Education committee, will be voted on by the full board in February. State school board members said they do not expect the proposed criteria to change, according to the Dayton Daily News. Last school year the state used 22 categories to measure local schools, but dropped to 18 this year because of the phase-out of some state proficiency tests. Read the DDN article: Click: State to add goals for schools to meet

    January 13, 2004- What Makes A Good Teacher?

    Ohio's 51 teacher training colleges and universities will collaborate on a $10 million project to identify what makes a good teacher. The Ohio Partnership for Accountability program also will involve the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Board of Regents in a five-year analysis. The Ohio Federation of Teachers and the Ohio Education Association are cooperating on the project. Ohio's 51 teacher training colleges and universities will collaborate on a $10 million project to identify what makes a good teacher. The Ohio Partnership for Accountability program also will involve the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Board of Regents in a five-year analysis. The Ohio Federation of Teachers and the Ohio Education Association are cooperating on the project.

    The project will track the performance of recent graduates, using a system devised by Dr. William L. Sanders,* by assessing schools and teachers based on the test-score gains in English and math of students they teach. It also will look at the techniques of 25,000 new and veteran teachers and compare them to what education majors are learning in college.

    Read article from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Click: Ohio looks for the key to perfect teachers

    * Dr. Sanders was featured speaker at the October 30 and 31, 2001 CORAS meetings in Athens and Zanesville.

    January 12, 2004- "Blaming The States...Politically Motivated"

    According to the Associated Press, the Bush Administration is responding to criticism over its education funding by charging that the states have $5.75 billion in unused federal money for education for the period 2000 to 2002. AP reported that Acting U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Eugene Hickok said, "Well, one has to ask, 'If they're that tightly strung out with regard to federal dollars to make No Child Left Behind work, then why haven't they accessed the dollars they have?' '' Ohio officials disagree! On Saturday the Columbus Dispatch reported that State Board of Education President Jennifer Sheets said, "The talk is entirely politically motivated because there has been a lot of comment this week criticizing the federal mandates. Now they’re trying to blame the states." State Senator Robert A. Gardner said, "Every dime of that money will be drawn down, plus." J.C. Benton, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education, said Ohio "does expect to spend nearly all of the $408.5 million of its federal aid for 2000-2002." Benton said, "At any given time there will be money that hasn’t been spent, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be." Benton told the Dispatch that states have 27 months to spend funding for any given year before forfeiting it. In addition, the state does not request funds until a district needs the money because the state cannot hold federal dollars for more than two days before dispersing them.

    January 9, 2004- K-12 Teacher Credential Web Page

    The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) now provides access to professional credentials held by Ohio K-12 classroom teachers on the ODE website. The new Web page, entitled “Educator Information,” can be accessed through the “hot topics” link on the ODE home page ( ) and is listed as a resource on ODE’s Website for families. You may also access the web page by clicking: Educator Information

    January 8, 2004- .....From Around The Nation

    * After ruling that the Colorado school voucher law violates the state Constitution because it strips control from school boards, a Denver District Judge upheld a December 2003 decision that placed an injunction on the voucher program. The Colorado PTA filed the voucher challenge.

    * A group of school districts representing more than a third of Missouri's public school students filed a lawsuit challenging the state's system for distributing money to public schools. The lawsuit alleges that Missouri fails to provide enough money to educate every student and deprives students of equal opportunities to an education. The suit asks the court to declare Missouri's education financing system unconstitutional.

    * A study released yesterday, "Quality Counts: 2004," published by Education Week, gave Ohio a low mark (D+) for the way it distributes resources to public schools. Four Ohio Supreme Court rulings said the state's reliance on local property taxes to pay for schools results in wide disparities in per-pupil funding among districts.

    January 7, 2004- Symbols Constitutionally Protected

    The United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, in Richmond, Virginia, has ruled that a dress code ban on weapons depictions by a Virginia school covers too many symbols that are constitutionally protected, even in public schools. The court ordered a federal district court judge to issue a preliminary injunction against the policy. The ruling was issued when a 13-year-old middle school student challenged school policy when asked to remove a NRA T-shirt depicting images of three people with guns and the words "Sports Shooting Camp. Read the article in the latest issue of Education Week. Click: Court Blocks School Ban On Weapons Images

    January 6, 2004- Election 2004: House/Senate Candidates

    With the filing deadline for the March 2nd primary election having passed, the following is a summary of several House and Senate races in Ohio Appalachian counties. CORAS members are requested to email candidates names and information on Ohio House and Senate races in your area to the CORAS office at:

    * The 14th Ohio Senate District will pit two Republican House members, Jean Schmidt of Loveland and Tom Niehaus of New Richmond, against each other in the March 2nd primary to succeed Senate President Doug White, an Adams County Republican who is term limited. The winner will face Democrat Paul Schwietering of Cincinnati in November 2004

    * Terry Anderson, a former hostage in the Middle East and retired journalism professor at Ohio University, filed for the Democratic nomination for the 20th Ohio Senate District seat now occupied by Sen. James E. Carnes, who is leaving to take a position in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The Republican candidate in the November election will be Joy Padgett, a former state representative from Coshocton, who is expected to be appointed to the Carnes vacancy.

    * The 91st House District has four candidates seeking the Republican nomination in the March 2nd primary to replace term limited Speaker Larry Householder. They are Perry-Hocking ESC Superintendent Dale Dickson of New Lexington; Ron Hood, a former two-term House member as a Canfield resident; former Hocking County Commissioner Fred Hawk; and Sereanna Dresbach, a part-time OSU college professor. The winner will face Democrat Dan Dodd, a New Lexington lawyer, in November 2004.

    * In the 93rd House District, Democrat Jennifer Garrison, a practicing attorney in Marietta, will run against State Representative Nancy Hollister, a Republican from Marietta, in November's general election.

    January 5, 2004- Election 2004: Ohio Supreme Court Candidates

    The Ohio Supreme Court has the responsibility to protect the constitutional right of all Ohioans to a "thorough and efficient" public education system. In the November 2004 election four seats on the Court are up for grabs. The January 2nd filing deadline has passed. The lineup appears to be as follows:

    * In the only March 2, 2004 primary race for the Ohio Supreme Court, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Nancy A. Fuerst of Cleveland Heights, and Stark County Appeals Court Judge W. Scott Gwin, have filed as Democratic candidates for the open seat created by the mandatory retirement of Justice Francis E. Sweeney, a Democrat. The winner will face Lucas County Appeals Court Judge Judith Lanzinger, the Republican candidate, in November.

    * Justice Terrence O’Donnell of Rocky River, appointed to the Supreme Court seat in May 2003 by Governor Taft, is running for the final two years of that unexpired term. Judge William M. O’Neill, a Democrat on the 11th District Court of Appeals (Warren), will challenge O'Donnell in November.

    * Republican Chief Justice Thomas Moyer is seeking re-election to a six-year term. Cleveland Municipal Court Judge C. Ellen Connally, a Democrat, will also seek the Chief Justice post in the November election.

    * No Democrat filed to challenge Republican Justice Paul E. Pfeifer, giving him an uncontested re-election.

    December 22, 2003- CORAS FYI

    * The CORAS Research Committee will meet at OSBA on January 15, 2004 with state professional education organizations to seek partnerships and funding support for the new research project, "Superintendent/Board Member Relationships." * Mark Your Calendar! The next CORAS membership meeting is Tuesday, January 27, 2004 at the Holiday Inn, Zanesville. The Ohio Regional Education Delivery System (OREDS) and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) will be the topics for discussion. Registration materials will be mailed in early January. * CORAS, Ohio University College of Education and the Samuel Hicks Endowment will jointly sponsor the regular April 2004 CORAS meeting. The program will be held on Thursday, April 29, 2004 at the Ohio University Inn, Athens. Dr. Julie Underwood, Deputy Director and Legal Counsel for the National School Boards Association will be the Hicks honoree. More specific details on the meeting will be announced later. MARK THIS DATE ON YOUR CALENDAR NOW! * CORAS membership for 2003-04 hit an all-time high last week with 132 members. Five new members have joined this year. All school districts in 18 of the 29 Appalachian counties are members of CORAS.

    December 19, 2003-Tax Issues On March Ballot

    The news isn't good for Ohio school districts, according to reports in many of today's Ohio newspapers. Since state leaders failed to heed the Ohio Supreme Court order to fix the school funding system, increasing taxes at the local level appears to be the only option available to local school districts. The Cincinnati Enquirer said many school administrators expect that by the end of next year nearly half of Ohio's 612 public school districts will have gone to the voters to ask for more money. Read about school tax issues on the March 2, 2004 primary ballot. Click the following.
    School districts' request to be on March ballots ...Cleveland Plain Dealer
    Schools' appeals for funds fill ballot ...Cincinnati Enquirer
    Schools in four counties seek money in March ...Cincinnati Enquirer
    School-fund issues top primary ballots ...Toledo Blade
    School districts seek taxes ...Akron Beacon Journal
    More bad news! Today's Toledo Blade said State Senator Randy Gardner has dropped out of the race to become the next president of the Ohio Senate. It now appears, according to the Blade, that Senator Jeff Jacobson will become President of the Senate in 2005. The current Senate President, Doug White, is term limited.

    December 18, 2003- Children's Hunger Alliance Appalachian Office

    Children's Hunger Alliance has opened an office in Marietta devoted entirely to the Appalachian counties. The Alliance has a contract with the Ohio Department of Education to expand student participation in breakfast and lunch, after school programs, and to expand summer feeding programs for kids. For more information about the program contact Jim Couts at the Marietta office. Address: Children's Hunger Alliance Red Cross Building 401 Fourth Street Marietta, OH 45750 Phone: (740) 374-8520 Email:

    December 17, 2003- New Tax Commissioner And Deputy Superintendent

    William Wilkins, chair the Governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Financing Student Success, was appointed Ohio Tax Commissioner yesterday by Governor Taft. Wilkins replaces Tom Zaino who resigned in October. He will continue to chair the Governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Financing Student Success. Bob Bowers was appointed Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction last week by the State Board of Education. He will begin his new position on January 1, 2004, replacing Roger Nehls who is retiring December 31, 2003. The State Board of Education has designated Nehls Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Emeritus.

    December 16, 2003- Misplaced Priorities

    An editorial in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer said, "On a day when lawmakers managed to pass a concealed carry gun law and a redundant measure "defending" marriage, they somehow failed to settle a pension reform bill that affects the livelihoods of tens of thousands of public employees and retirees." According to the editorial, the Ohio House of Representatives "was unwilling to part with provisions to reward campaign contributors" in their failure to compromise with the Ohio Senate on the pension reform bill. Read the editorial. Click: How disappointing

    December 12, 2003- Funding Solution Doubtful?

    "Deeming all the proposals 'problematic,' the chairman of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Financing Students Success declared two of them downright 'radical.'" ...Columbus Dispatch, December 12, 2003

    "Everybody knows there isn’t enough money to fund 100 percent of anyone’s definition of adequacy. I suspect we’ll be struggling with this 10 years from now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take it to the next level and make some progress." ....William W. Wilkins, Chairman of the Governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Financing Students Success, Columbus Dispatch, December 12, 2003

    The next meeting of the Governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force is Thursday, December 18, 2003 at 10:00 a.m. in the Sublett Room at the STRS Building, 275 East Broad Street, Columbus. Meetings are open to the public.

    December 11, 2003- School Enrollment Growth Slows

    The National Center on Education Statistics (NCES), a division of the U.S. Department of Education, reported last week that the nation's K-12 population will continue to grow over the next decade, but not at the pace of recent years. NCES said enrollment will rise by 4 percent between 2001 and 2013, compared with 19 percent from 1988 through 2001. Public and private schools educated 53.9 million students in the fall of 2001, the most recent year that NCES has final enrollment figures. The school-age population is the highest in the nation's history, according to NCES. Read the report. Click: "Projections of Education Statistics to 2013," from the National Center for Education Statistics. (Requires Adobe's Acrobat Reader.)

    December 10, 2003- Shadyside "Turning Up The Heat"

    The Times Leader, a Belmont County newspaper, said yesterday that Shadyside Village Council and the Shadyside Local School District are working together to turn up the heat when it comes to making the state legislature and governor responsible for state educational issues.

    During the regular council meeting on Monday, Councilman James Amato announced plans to have legislation written that will hold the governor and legislators accountable for how they vote and would create a legislative "report card" on education. Amato said the Shadyside Board of Education has been invited to the next regular meeting of the Shadyside Village Council to pass the new legislation as a joint resolution. From there, the legislation will be sent to other municipal governments and school boards across Ohio, the Times Leader reported.

    Read the article. Click: See Story

    December 9, 2003- Sales Tax For Schools?

    According to Monday's Akron Beacon Journal, State Representative John Widowfield, a Republican from Cuyahoga Falls, plans to introduce a bill this week that would give school districts the power to put sales tax increases on the ballot.

    The Beacon Journal said that under the bill to be introduced:

    (1) The majority of school districts in a county could vote to put a county sales tax hike for schools on the ballot.

    (2) School boards within the county that did not sign off on putting a sales tax hike on the ballot would get their portion of the revenue if a majority of county voters approved the increase. The money automatically would be used to offset property taxes.

    (3) Funds would be distributed to districts on a per-pupil basis, either directly by the state or through the county fiscal officer.

    (4) The legislation does not put a cap on the increase but specifies that it would be in quarter-percent increments.

    (5) The tax could be levied for up to 25 years

    December 8, 2003- Legacy

    The following are quotes from a Letter to the Editor written by State Board of Education President Jennifer Sheets. ... Columbus Dispatch, December 6, 2003 "With little fanfare, Taft has effectively set about reforming virtually every aspect of the education system in Ohio." ".....the governor’s accomplishments over the past five years have already established a substantial legacy for him in a variety of areas, especially in education." "School buildings, a focus on reading, rigorous standards, aligned assessments, meaningful accountability, teacher quality, funding reform and higher-education reform - the record is truly remarkable. Generations from now, when people look back, they will see this time as a time of fundamental transformation in education, and they’ll have Bob Taft to thank for it." the letter to the editor, click: Gov. Taft has done a lot to transform education in Ohio With all due respect for the State Board President, let's do a reality check. A more probable legacy for the Governor might read: On March 24, 1997, the Ohio Supreme Court declared Ohio's school funding system unconstitutional. The Court ordered the State of Ohio to do a "complete systematic overhaul" of the school finance system and to "reduce over-reliance on local property taxes." Governor Bob Taft and the Ohio Legislature ignored the Court's order. School funding in Ohio remains unconstitutional. Ohio's school children continue to be deprived of an adequate education.

    December 5, 2003- CORAS Membership Report

    The Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools membership equaled its all-time high last week. 131 school districts, institutions of higher learning and other organizations have joined CORAS for the 2003-04 school years. CORAS has increased its membership each of past three-years. This years goal of 135 members is in sight. CORAS membership has increased by almost 30 percent since the beginning of the 2000-01 school year. All public school districts in 18 of the 29 Appalachian counties are members of CORAS. These counties include Brown, Harrison, Coshocton, Muskingum, Guernsey, Jackson, Noble, Monroe, Washington, Meigs, Morgan, Perry, Pike, Athens, Hocking, Vinton, Gallia, and Holmes. Scioto County has 10 members; Ross and Lawrence 8 members each; Belmont has 7 members, Jefferson 5 members, Clermont four, Tuscarawas and Columbiana 2 members each, and Highland county has one member. There are no CORAS members from Carroll County or Adams County. Higher Ed members are: Ohio University, Ohio University regional campuses at Ironton, Zanesville and Chillicothe, Muskingum College, University of Rio Grande, Hocking College and Franciscan University of Steubenville. Other members include Southeast RPDC, South RPDC/Ohio Appalachian Initiative, SEOVEC, OACHE, ACCLAIM, Office of the ODE Region II Facilitator, and ARSI. CORAS members from outside the Appalachian region are Lancaster City and Fairfield Union, Fairfield County; Licking County ESC, Licking County; Westfall, Pickaway County; and Lucas Local, Richland County.

    December 4, 2003- "I'm Calling My Lawyer"

    A study released recently by Public Agenda found that the possibility of being sued or accused of abuse is affecting how educators approach their jobs. The report said educators were not calling for sweeping changes in how the legal system deals with education issues, however superintendents and principals believe the system needs to be reformed to deal better with legal issues related to special education.

    To read the report, Click: "'I'm Calling My Lawyer': How Litigation, Due Process and Other Regulatory Requirements Are Affecting Public Education"

    December 3, 2003- The Cost Of Adequacy

    On November 24, 2003, Dr. Richard Brandon from the University of Washington made a presentation to a sub-committee of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Financing Student Success. His presentation adds support to the position that the cost of adequacy should be based on the identification of student needs. The slide presentation by Dr. Brandon can be found on the CORAS website. To view the slide presentation go to the CORAS website at: and click Message Board or Click: Richard N. Brandon: From Inputs to Allocations - Principles for Developing an Allocation Formula Linked to Student Success

    December 1, 2003- School Choice

    According to the National Center on Education Statistics, forty-one states have laws that provide for charter schools. There are roughly 2,700 charter schools educating nearly 750,000 children. Six states have state-funded voucher programs. In 1999, some 850,000 children were being schooled at home. The National Working Commission on Choice in K-12 Education released its findings on the effectiveness of school choice at the Brookings Institution in mid-November. The commission spent two years examining school choice. To view the report, "School Choice, Doing It the Right Way Makes a Difference," on the Brookings Institution website, Click:

    November 26, 2003- Appalachian School Districts/Schools Receive Honors

    The State Board of Education is recognizing school districts and schools across Ohio for high academic achievement on the 2002-2003 Local Report Cards. School districts being recognized include two districts from the Appalachian region achieving an excellent designation on the Local Report Card. Other school districts from the Appalachian counties being honored include 14 districts that moved up to a new designation and 11 districts that improved 10 or more points. The Appalachian school districts being recognized, by category, are:
    EXCELLENT DISTRICTS Fairland Local, Lawrence County Dover City, Tuscarawas County SCHOOL DISTRICTS THAT MOVED UP ONE DESIGNATION New Richmond Exempted Village, Clermont County Williamsburg Local, Clermont County East Liverpool, Columbiana County Coshocton City, Coshocton County Gallipolis City, Gallia County Bright Local, Highland County Hillsboro City, Highland County Dawson-Bryant Local, Lawrence County Fairland Local, Lawrence County Steubenville City, Jefferson County Eastern Local, Pike County Washington-Nile Local, Scioto County Dover City, Tuscarawas County Strasburg-Franklin Local, Tuscarawas County SCHOOL DISTRICTS THAT IMPROVED 10 OR MORE POINTS Nelsonville-York City, Athens County Bridgeport Exempted Village, Belmont County Williamsburg Local, Clermont County Wellsville Local, Columbiana County Coshocton City, Coshocton County Gallia County Local, Gallia County Steubenville City, Jefferson County Dawson-Bryant, Lawrence County Symmes Valley Local, Lawrence County Crooksville Exempted Village, Perry County Washinton-Nile Local, Scioto County In addition to the above, 52 individual schools located in Appalachian counties are being recognized for earning an excellent designation. State Superintendent Susan Zelman has nominated 14 Ohio schools to be considered for the U.S. Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon Schools award. Six schools nominated are located in the Appalachian region. They are: Dawson-Bryant Elementary School, Dawson-Bryant School District, Lawrence County McDonald Elementary School, Wellsville Local School District, Columbiana County Hilltop Elementary School, Martins Ferry City School District, Belmont Couinty Park Elementary School, Claymont City School District, Tuscarawas County South Bloomingville Elementary School, Logan-Hocking Local School District, Hocking County Wells Elementary School, Steubenville City School District, Jefferson County CONGRATULATIONS!

    November 25, 2003- Opinions About NCLB

    The following survey by Public Agenda is reprinted from the November 18, 2003 Education Week.

    Read Education Week article. Click: Survey: Administrators Vexed By Mandates

    November 24, 2003- No Child Left Behind

    As the No Child Left Behind Act takes hold, battle lines are being drawn. About 8,000 schools have been cited under the act as needing improvement, including hundreds in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, fueling the idea that its intent is to undermine public education. ...The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 2003 An article by Susan Ohanian, a fellow at the Education Policy Research Unit at Arizona State University, says educators are becoming increasingly wary of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Arguing that the law will declare "nearly all public schools failures, Ohanian suggests that it is ultimately a vehicle for the privatization movement. Read the article "Bush Flunks Schools," The Nation, November 2003. Click: Bush Flunks Schools
    "The ESEA [No Child Left Behind Act] is like a Russian novel. That's because it's long, it's complicated, and in the end, everybody gets killed." ...Scott Howard, former superintendent, Perry Local and Ironton City Schools...from "Bush Flunks Schools," The Nation, November 2003

    "The Ohio Business Roundtable strongly supports the No Child Left Behind Act." ...Richard Stoff, president, Ohio Business Roundtable...from "Bush Flunks Schools," The Nation, November 2003

    November 21, 2003- "Do Charter Schools Work?"

    "Not only have several [Charter] schools, notably Ohio's first online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, demonstrated chronic financial problems, charter schools' legal structure often funnels public education dollars into private, for-profit pockets. Of larger concern is the failure of charter schools to live up to their educational promises, and of the failure of the legislature to hold them accountable. Recently, the state Legislative Office of Education Oversight found data reporting by Ohio's charter schools to be so poor as to be useless." ....Akron Beacon Journal editorial, November 21, 2003

    Read the editorial. Click: The charter record

    November 20, 2003- Tests Canceled

    The Ohio Department of Education has temporarily canceled a new set of tests designed to measure the reading, math and writing skills of children as young as kindergartners. The Cleveland Plain Dealer said, "The moratorium, announced by State Superintendent Susan Tave Zelman, comes after some Cleveland teachers said they would openly defy the state and refuse to give the tests, which they claimed would eat up too much classroom instructional time."

    November 19, 2003- Dropout Data

    A report released by the National Center for Educational Statistics, dated November 2003, said high school dropout rates in 45 states ranged from a low of 2.2 percent in North Dakota to a high of 10.9 percent in Arizona during the 2000-01 school year. A majority of the states that reported their dropout rates to the agency had rates ranging from 4 percent to 7 percent. Ohio data show the dropout rate for 2000-01 at 3.9 percent. Ohio had 22,822 school dropouts out of 590,120 total students, according to the report. The highest Ohio dropout rates were middle-sized and large city districts averaging 7.7 to 11.3 percent. Suburban, small town and rural districts had average dropout rates ranging from 2.2 to 2.8 percent. To read the report, Click: "Public High School Dropouts and Completers from the Common Core of Data: School Year 2000-01"

    November 18, 2003- Hunger And Poverty Increase

    A recent Census Bureau survey shows that one or more children in an estimated 265,000 American families on occasion missed meals last year because the families either couldn't afford to eat or didn't have enough food at home. In addition, an estimated 3.8 million families were hungry to the point where someone in the household skipped meals because they couldn't afford them. That's an 8.6% increase from 2001, when 3.5 million families were hungry, and a 13% increase from 2000, according to the Census Bureau. As reported earlier, the Census Bureau found 34.8 million Americans living in poverty in 2002, an increase of 1.7 million over the previous year.

    November 17, 2003- Deficit Forecasts

    The financial condition of Ohio school districts "has significantly deteriorated," according to the Columbus Dispatch. The Ohio Department of Education said thirty-five districts need to make cuts or pass a levy to avoid ending this school year in the red, the Dispatch reported today. In 2004-05, 176 school districts project a deficit. The following year, 2005-06, half of Ohio’s school districts (306) are projecting a year-end deficit.

    November 14, 2003- In Today's News...

    * According to the American Legacy Foundation, smoking among U.S. high school students has declined by nearly one-fifth since 2000. The reason given as to why it has gone down is a combination of factors, from the increase in cigarette prices to the passage of more smoke- free laws and policies. ...The Associated Press

    * The Ohio House voted 80-13 yesterday to approve a bill that would give authority to state Treasurer Joe Deters, allowing him to hire and fire the executive directors of all five public-employee retirement systems. The Cleveland Plain Dealer said the Ohio Senate voted 27-6 to approve a competing bill that would give new investigative powers to Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro, while removing him from all the boards. Legislative leaders said they hope to work out a compromise before the General Assembly adjourns in December. ...Cleveland Plain Dealer

    * U.S. students showed gains in mathematics, according to 2003 test scores released yesterday by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Reading scores remained about the same. Nationally, Ohio ranked 13th among the states in fourth and eighth-grade reading. The state ranked 11th in fourth-grade math and 14th in eighth-grade math. ...Cleveland Plain Dealer

    * Ohio's economic development performance fell from a grade of "C" to a "D" between 2002 and this year, according to the report card by the Corporation for Enterprise Development. Ohio's unemployment rank was 19th last year, dropping to 30th in the 2003 report. The state lost 118,000 jobs since the most recent recession. The disparity in income and poverty between rural and urban areas widened, and Ohio's rank slipped to 36th. ...Cleveland Plain Dealer

    * House Bill 102, a bill that gives districts options such as lengthening the school day and having four-day weeks, but would not reduce the amount of time children must spend in school, passed the Ohio House of Representatives yesterday ...Akron Beacon Journal

    November 13, 2003- Four-Day School Week

    The Associated Press said Webster County School District in Kentucky is going to a four-day school week. By closing schools on Mondays, the district hopes save about 2 percent of its annual spending, or $200,000, on bus service, substitute teachers and utilities. To meet Kentucky guidelines, the school day was extended by 30 minutes. In addition, schools will be in session on Mondays eight weeks of the year, the last four weeks of each semester, to help students prepare for Kentucky's end-of-the-year assessment exams. AP said, according to a 2002 survey by the National School Boards Association, at least 10 other states have made the switch to a four-day week to save money: Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Arkansas, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

    State Representative Thom Collier (R-Mt. Vernon) introduced a bill (HB 102) in the Ohio House of Representative to permit Ohio boards of education to adopt a four-day school week. The bill is currently in the House Education Committee. View the bill. Click: H.B. 0102 As Reported By House Education

    November 12, 2003- Local Taxes High/Business Climate Improves


    New York State has the highest local taxes in the nation, according to a new study of the state's budget. Residents of New Jersey and Ohio have the nation's next-highest local taxes, New Jersey paying $51 and Ohio $48, per $1,000 of income, said the study released Monday by the Citizens Budget Commission. ...The Associated Press, November 11, 2003


    Ohio jumped from 12th to fourth in Site Selection magazine’s annual business climate survey, behind three-time winner North Carolina, Michigan and Tennessee. Ohio topped the magazine’s survey in 1993-95, but quickly fell from the top 10 after that. The magazine used three factors to compile the 2003 list. The number of new plants per 1 million people and the number of new plants per 1,000 square miles were combined for half the score. The other half of the score came from a survey of 152 corporate real estate executives, all Site Selection subscribers, who listed their top 10 states for business climate. ...Dayton Daily News, November 11, 2003

    November 11, 2003- Inflated Achievement...Fuzzy Math

    In August 2002 the state of Texas bestowed "exemplary" status on Houston Independent Schools District's Austin High School....and the district was honored by a private foundation for having the nation's best urban school district. This year Austin High School has been downgraded to "low-performing," the lowest possible rating, according to a story in the Washington Post. The Post revealed that during a decade in which as many as half of Austin High School students failed to graduate, the school's reported dropout rate fell from 14.4 percent to 0.3 percent....and more than a dozen other Houston high schools are caught up in a scandal about the reliability of their dropout statistics. The Post said the school district that President Bush touted as a model for the rest of the nation, and where U.S. Education Secretary Roderick R. Paige served as superintendent, is fending off accusations that it inflated its achievements through fuzzy math. According to the Post , "What originally began as an argument over dropout data has expanded into a debate about the administration's entire approach to educational reform."

    Read the Article. Click: Education 'Miracle' Has a Math Problem

    November 10, 2003 "Overheard"

    "If you want to try to get poor kids to high proficiency, you take the JFK man-on-the-moon-in-a-decade approach and fund the program adequately." ....Gerald Bracey, an education professor at George Mason University, arguing that the Bush administration needs to provide more money to help schools comply with the No Child Left Behind Act.

    "The funding issue is a bogus argument. It has no basis in fact, and I'm growing quite impatient with it." ....Education Secretary Rod Paige, expressing frustration with charges that the government has failed to provide enough assistance to help states comply with NCLB.

    Reprinted from "Overheard," Teachers Magazine, November, 2003.

    November 7, 2003- Study Calls For STRS and SERS Changes

    According to the Columbus Dispatch, a study released Wednesday said the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) and the School Employees Retirement System (SERS) still haven’t recovered from investment losses from spring 2000 to early this year. Milliman USA, who conducted the actuary study, said STRS and SERS should "trim benefits and tighten pension eligibility rules to improve the financial outlook of the pension systems." Thursday's Dayton Daily News reported that Milliman USA told the Ohio Retirement Study Council that STRS and SERS has unfunded liabilities beyond the industry standard. Fixes suggested in the study, according to newspaper reports, include reducing health-care benefits, raising contributions, rolling back the automatic annual 3% cost-of-living increase and requiring employees to work longer for full benefits.

    Read article in Dayton Daily News. Click: Report calls for cuts in public pensions

    Read article in Columbus Dispatch. Click: Consultant predicting trouble for pensions

    November 6, 2003- November 2003 Election Results

    There were 221 school tax issues on the ballot in Tuesday's election. Voters passed 106, or 47.96 percent, of these issues. According to the Ohio Department of Education, the five-year passage rate for November elections is 63.44 percent. Thirty-four of the 221 tax issues were in school districts located in the 29 Appalachian counties. Fourteen, or 41.2 percent, of the Appalachian issues were successful. Eleven of the 34 issues were tax renewals. Nine renewals passed. Only 5 of 23 (21.7%) requests for new money by Appalachian school districts were approved. One successful new money issue was an operating levy. The other four were for building assistance, bond issues or permanent improvements.

    November 5, 2003- On Today's News...

    * According to the Associated Press, preliminary returns indicated that school money issues did not fare well in yesterday's elections. AP said, "Early returns showed school money issues being rejected by voters by about a 3-1 margin." A full accounting of all school-funding issues across the state was to be released today by the Ohio Department of Education. To view the results, click the following later today.

    Election Results

    * The Columbus Dispatch reported today that a Franklin County judge, growing impatient with delaying tactics of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, gave the group until November 17th to name those who bankrolled negative television ads against Ohio Supreme Court Justice Alice Robie Resnick three years ago. The judge said failure to comply will result in a $25,000-per-day fine, according to the Dispatch.

    * Voters rejected Issue 1 yesterday. The proposed amendment to the state constitution would have allowed Ohio to issue $500 million in bonds and support high-tech entrepreneurs, companies and research.

    November 4, 2003- Understanding The Standards-based Approach

    Last Tuesday, October 28th, sixty-three school superintendents and other educators attended the CORAS sponsored program, Understanding the Standards-based Approach to Education: Aligning Standards, Instruction, Assessment and Accountability. The program was held at the Ohio University Inn, Athens. James Mahoney and Barbara Leeper from Battelle for Kids, assisted by Cathy Segner, Sasheen Bowman and Edwina Campbell, guided participants through LifeSpan: Preparing Children for the Journey of a Lifetime" Learning Map®. The CORAS Board of Directors met following the program. The next CORAS program is set for Tuesday, January 27, 2004. The program will focus on the Ohio Regional Educational Delivery System (OREDS) and No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Mark this date on your calendar.

    November 3, 2003- Fiscal Emergency/Local School Tax Issues

    This past Friday the Ohio Department of Education said another Ohio school district has been placed in Fiscal Emergency. According to ODE, 18 school districts have been placed into Fiscal Emergency since 1996. ODE said the average length for a district to be in Fiscal Emergency status has been just under three years. In addition, according to ODE, there are 219 local school tax issues on the ballot in tomorrow's election. In 1997 the Ohio Supreme Court declared Ohio's school funding system unconstitutional. The Court ordered the State of Ohio to do a "complete systematic overhaul" of the school finance system and to "reduce over-reliance on local property taxes." The Governor, House and Senate Leadership and Legislators have ignored the Court's order. School funding in Ohio remains unconstitutional. Few doubt that without compliance with the Court's order, Fiscal Emergency and local school tax issues will continue to increase.

    October 31, 2003- Students Who Need The Most Continue To Get The Least

    A new report, released Wednesday by The Education Trust, documents large funding gaps between high and low poverty and minority students in many states. The study reveals that, in most states, school districts that educate the greatest number of low-income and minority students receive substantially less state and local money per pupil than districts with the fewest low-income and minority students. Ohio data show: Per pupil funding in lowest-poverty districts..................................$7,621 Per Pupil funding in highest-poverty districts................................$6,979 Gap between revenues available in highest and lowest-poverty districts.........................................................................$642 Gap between a typical classroom of 25 students.........................$16,050 Gap between a typical elementary school of 400 students....$256,800 State share of state and local revenue..............................................45.5% State rank in state share of state and local revenue........................36th Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia provide more extra poverty-based funding per pupil for living below the poverty-level than Ohio. Read the news release. Click: (press release) Read the report. Click: Report

    October 30, 2003- College Costs

    "A decade ago, taxpayer-funded support made up 30 percent of higher-education revenues in Ohio; now, it’s less than 20 percent. A recent study by the College Board showed that the average annual tuition for Ohio’s public colleges and universities was $6,438, compared with a nationwide average of $4,694." ...Columbus Dispatch, October 29, 2003

    October 29, 2003- "costing-out"

    "According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nationwide, the average state spending per pupil was $7,524 in 2002 - ranging from a high of $11,009 in the District of Columbia to a low of $4,769 in Utah . It is difficult, however, to determine exactly how much money is needed to give all students an adequate education. Most experts agree that educating low-income or special education students costs more than educating the average pupil." ...Education Week, October 22, 2003 The Advocacy Center for Children's Educational Success with Standards (ACCESS) has a new "costing-out" section that offers information on standards-based reform, school finance litigation, public engagement and other useful resources. Click: NEW Costing-Out Section Available Here

    October 28, 2003- Money Available For School Breakfast Programs

    According to the Cincinnati Enquirer the Children's Hunger Alliance, a non-profit group, and the Ohio Department of Education are leading a one-year initiative to increase the number of children participating in school breakfast programs....and the Ohio Legislature has appropriated $1 million to help in this effort.

    The Enquirer said, of the 4,146 schools in Ohio that offered school lunch last year, only 2,363 (55.3 percent) offered school breakfast. Participation in breakfast programs in Ohio has increased the past decade, but is still below the national average. Nationwide, 76 percent of the schools that offer school lunch offer breakfast.

    For more information contact the Ohio Department of Education [(614) 466-2945] or the Children's Hunger Alliance [(614) 341-7700].

    October 27, 2003- OhioReads: "no statistically significant differences"

    The Associated Press reported Friday that students in schools participating in Governor Taft's $139 million OhioReads program performed no differently on reading proficiency tests than those in schools that were not part of the program. Indiana University researchers, who were paid $750,000 by the State of Ohio, found "no statistically significant differences between the OhioReads and non-OhioReads students’ performance."

    October 24, 2003- Fewer Men Teaching In Public Schools

    The nation hit a 40-year low in the number of male teachers in public schools, according to the National Education Association (NEA). Only 25 percent of 3 million teachers nationwide are men and the trend doesn't appear to be changing. NEA figures show only 9 percent of teachers in elementary school are male, down from 14 percent in 1986. The gap is also widening at the secondary level. Men represented half of middle and high school teachers in 1986, today, they make up 35 percent.

    October 23, 2003- Are Small Schools Safe?

    Earlier this week USA TODAY reported that a study by Texas State University professor challenges widely accepted notions that small schools create safer, more nurturing environments for teenagers. The study, appearing in Sociology of Education, October 2003, examined small and large schools to compare the number of students who report depression, attempt suicide or bring weapons to school. The new research suggests that small secondary schools often do wonders for students' academics, but they may not help the emotional well-being of every student. Read the USA TODAY article. Click: Study Released On Smaller Schools Read the October 2003 Sociology of Education article, "Are Small Schools and Private Schools Better for Adolescents' Emotional Adjustment?" Click: Read the full-text article.

    October 22, 2003- Legislator Suggests Increasing Local Taxes

    State Senator Jeff Jacobson told the Columbus Dispatch that he expects local school districts will be asked to come up with money, rather than having the state supply all the additional dollars. Jacobson said, "I think it’s time to try a new approach. We need to do a better job of recognizing both sides of the state and local partnership."

    Apparently Jacobson, whose comments appeared in a Dispatch story relating to the U.S. Supreme Court refusal to accept a petition for a Writ of Certiorari, is ignoring the Ohio Supreme Court decision that school funding in Ohio is unconstitutional, telling the General Assembly repeatedly to end over-reliance on local property taxes

    October 21, 2003- Local School Tax Issues

    According to the Ohio Department of Education there are 219 school issues on the November 4, 2003 ballot. The Akron Beacon Journal said that number is the fourth highest for levies on a November ballot in the last 10 years.

    October 20, 2003- NCLB and The "Texas Miracle"

    According to the AASA Legislative Corps Weekly Report, the October 17, 2003 PBS program "NOW with Bill Moyers" featured the "Texas Miracle" and how Houston's dropout reporting procedures may be undermining the credibility of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). AASA reported the program's press release said, "critics and whistleblowers" in Houston contend that then Superintendent Rod Paige's methods created the climate for falsification of test scores and drop out rates. AASA said PBS asks, "How does that affect the nation's new 'No Child Left Behind' education law which uses Houston schools as a model?" The AASA report said it has learned from a credible source that the U.S. House of Representative may be preparing to open NCLB for amendment in the coming January session of Congress. AASA added, "If accurate, this would indicate the rising tide of concern over the law has reached such a pitch that action to amend the law is being seen as imperative."

    October 17, 2003- Group Wants Congress To Rewrite NCLB Law

    A newly formed group of educators and civic leaders is calling on Congress to rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act by discarding its stiff penalties for schools that fail to measure up. The group, Citizens for Effective Schools, in an open letter to the President, Secretary of Education and members of Congress said, "The law should focus less on punishing schools that fall short and more on prescribing specific steps that could help them improve." According to the New York Times, the No Child Left Behind Act has run into opposition as school districts fully grasp its demands and consequences, particularly with state revenues at low levels. Four schools in Vermont announced last month that they would forgo the Title I money for disadvantaged schools, while a lawmaker in Utah is planning to propose that the entire state give up the federal aid rather than submit to the demands. Read the New York Times article. Click: Education Group Calls for Revised Law

    October 16, 2003- Education Trust Report: "AYP" Working

    The report (released October 8) from The Education Trust, What New “AYP” Information Tells Us About Schools, States, and Public Education, highlights information about the Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) formula in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). According to the report there are several ways AYP is working:

    • AYP is identifying schools with massive achievement gaps, including many schools that had been identified as “successful” by state accountability systems.
    • AYP is identifying schools that are falling short across the board.
    • AYP is recognizing the improvement of previously low-performing schools.
    • AYP results show that schools previously designated as needing improvement can improve and move off the list.
    • AYP is identifying schools that are successfully teaching all groups of students. Read the report and/or The Education Trust press release. Click: (press release)

    October 15, 2003- $100,000 Teacher Salary

    The governor of Minnesota is proposing a pilot program that would pay teachers as much as $100,000 a year to teach the state's most academically disadvantaged students. The plan, part of the governor's "Excellence and Accountability" education agenda, calls for recruiting "super teachers" from inside and outside the teaching field to instruct students at five schools that serve high numbers of disadvantaged students.

    The plan would also establish "pay-for-performance pilot sites" in addition to the "super teacher" sites that would compensate teachers for improvements in student performance. The pilot sites would be financed by a $7.8 million grant to the state from the U.S. Department of Education, in partnership with the Milken Family Foundation. The plan must now be submitted to the Minnesota state legislature.

    Source: Education Week, October 15, 2003

    October 14, 2003- CORAS Meeting October 28

    Register today for the Tuesday, October 28, 2003 CORAS program, Understanding the Standards-based Approach to Education. The presentation will be held at the Ohio University Inn, Athens, beginning at 9:00 AM. Dr. Jim Mahoney and Barb Leeper, Battelle for Kids, will present "Learning Maps:" Aligning Standards, Instruction, Assessment and Accountability. This presentation is designed for building principals, curriculum administrators and teachers, as well as superintendents. Bring a team from your district! To register call Lori or Joan at 740-593-4414 or 740-593-4445 or FAX registration form to 740-593-9698.

    October 13, 2003- In The News...

    * The Ohio Ethics Commission has asked the State Teachers Retirement System for documents related to the system's travel and investments. An STRS spokeswoman said she does not know why the ethics commission wants the documents. The executive director of the ethics commission said state law prevents him from talking about investigations, including whether one is under way. ...Associated Press, October 11, 2003 * The Ohio Ethics Commission has asked the State Teachers Retirement System for documents related to the system's travel and investments. An STRS spokeswoman said she does not know why the ethics commission wants the documents. The executive director of the ethics commission said state law prevents him from talking about investigations, including whether one is under way. ...Associated Press, October 11, 2003

    * Ohio has 151 Charter schools enrolling 39,523 students. Charter schools received $264 million in state money this year. White Hat Management, with 30 Charter schools, received an estimated $62 million in Ohio tax support this year. ...Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 12, 2003

    * A major item on State Board of Education agenda tomorrow is the amendment of Ohio Administrative Code, which relates to the requirements for receiving alternative educator licenses. The proposed amendment eliminates the requirement that an alternative educator license be issued at the request of a school district superintendent. ...Ohio Department of Education website, October 8, 2003

    October 10, 2003- Studies On Implementing NCLB

    To better understand how the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is playing out in school districts across the nation, the Center on Education Policy (CEP) commissioned case studies of local implementation of NCLB in a geographically diverse set of urban, suburban, and rural districts, including the Cleveland City School District in Ohio. The CEP plans to conduct in-depth studies on 15 more school districts. Ultimately, it will survey 300 districts to see how they are dealing with the two-year-old law.

    Some interesting findings, released yesterday, are already emerging from the case studies of 15 school districts completed as of September 2003. For example, the director of the CEP said, "The poorer and more ethnically diverse a district is, the tougher it is to meet the many requirements of the federal law." To read more about the study, Implementing the No Child Left Behind Act: A First Look Inside 15 School Districts, Click: Then Click: PDF or HTML after Press Release, Summary or Case Studies under What's New.

    October 9. 2003- Can't be Sued For Providing Incorrect Information

    In June, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin upheld an appeals court decision against a student who claimed that his school district caused him to lose an NCAA Division I hockey scholarship. According to the Associated Press, the student says his guidance counselor told him that a broadcast communications class would meet the NCAA's English requirement; it did not, and the University of Alaska revoked his scholarship. The Wisconsin courts ruled, as state workers, educators cannot be sued for providing incorrect information. To read the Wisconsin court decision, Scott v. Savers Property and Casualty Insurance Company and Stevens Point Area Public School District, Case Number 01-2953, 06/19/03 Click: 01-2953

    October 8, 2003- Florida Teachers Riled...

    According to latest issue of Education Week, the Florida Retirement System is about to become the owners of Edison Schools Inc., the nation's largest for-profit school management company. The Florida Retirement System has some 850,000 participants, of whom nearly half are current or retired public school employees. Florida Governor Jeb Bush is one of three members of the State Board of Administration, which oversees the retirement system and several other state investment funds. Read the article. Click: Fla. Teachers Riled By Edison Deal

    October 7, 2003- Teacher Retention

    According to a recent report commissioned by American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), former teachers said the major reasons they left the teaching profession were lack of support from their administrations, low pay, feelings of being undervalued by society, lack of parental support, and the frustration of dealing with seemingly narrow-minded colleagues. The report also said the biggest challenges facing many public school teachers today are motivating students, maintaining classroom discipline, justifying discipline measures to parents, managing lesson plans for short class periods, and dealing with school politics. Read the AARP report. Conclusions and Recommendations are on pages 27-31. Click: "Exodus: A Study of Teacher Retention in America" Additional Source: Education Week

    October 6, 2003- AASA Report: "Fraud" Charged In School Lunch Program

    The following information was included in the AASA Legislative Corps Weekly Report for October 3, 2003 "Using what they acknowledge is an inconclusive report that suggests one in five children are receiving a free lunch to which they are not entitled, the Senate Agriculture Committee is discussing a push on local administrators to as much as double the percentage of income verifications you must conduct to assure the integrity of the National School Lunch Program in your buildings. Under current Agriculture Department rules local districts must recheck the incomes of three percent of the families whose children receive a free meal at school."
    "The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), a close AASA ally on food policy, calculates the actual over count is not 20 percent but a tiny two percent for free lunch. When free meal figures are combined with reduced price meal counts, there is an actual 15 percent undercount of children who should be receiving a subsidized meal. FRAC also has evidence that for every one percent of families added to the recount, 30,000 eligible youngsters are pushed out of the program. Reasons for this drop are several, including failure of a child to bring home the income verification questionnaire, lack of understanding of the form, or family embarrassment for having to admit, again, in writing that they are poor."

    October 3, 2003- Same Issues...No Solutions, Yet

    The meeting yesterday of the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Financing Student Success evidently raised the same issues that have been discussed over the past decade...and with no solutions, yet. The following observations were reported by the Columbus Dispatch. Chairman William Wilkins said perhaps the most important accomplishment they could make would be to simplify Ohio's complex system of financing schools. "It's my hope that we can simplify the funding system so the public can understand it even if they don't like it," he said. Several members said they must find a way to ensure that students in poor districts receive the same quality of education as those in wealthier areas. "We need to get past the current system where quality of education is based on property value of a particular district. We're still in the realm of privilege," said Tom Mooney, president of the Ohio Federation of Teachers. Sen. Jeff Jacobson agreed. He said, "We're in danger of creating a caste system. Eventually the have-nots will lose hope. So how do we not disassemble the districts that are doing well and help those that need it?" Russ Harris, a research consultant for the Ohio Education Association, said the debate should be shifted away from funding and focused on what the education system should look like. Harris suggested the committee first come up with "standards of opportunity" to identify desired inputs and outputs for Ohio’s education system. Read the Dispatch article. Click: Consensus eludes school-funding panel

    October 2, 2003- Belpre Hires First teacher In Northwest Territory

    Ohio was still 15 years away from becoming a state when settlers in Belpre decided their children needed a formal teacher. They hired Bathsheba Rouse as the first schoolmarm in the Northwest Territory. Born in Massachusetts in 1769, Rouse was 19 years old when she came to the region with other pioneers. She became a teacher the year she arrived, offered $1.67 for three months of service. Rouse taught her girls and boys manners, reading and writing. Girls also learned sewing while boys were instructed in math. She retired when she married, and died in nearby Marietta in 1843.

    Re-printed from the Akron Beacon Journal, September 27, 2003

    October 1, 2003- Early Childhood Education Programs

    Several studies show that for every $1 spent on pre-school programs society gained from $4 to $9 in economic benefits. These benefits come in the way of more earnings, less welfare, less crime and less anti-social behavior. Other early childhood programs, such as those in North Carolina, New York and Illinois, show the educational benefits for young children.

    In the spring of 2003, even with research showing substantial economic and educational gains from early childhood education, the President proposed a budget that cut funds or kept them level for early childcare programs, including Head Start and the Child Care and Development Grant program, which has helped low-income families pay for early education. In addition, according to a General Accounting Office report released in May, 23 states are cutting or limiting childcare and pre-K funding.

    Source: District Administration, A Magazine for K12 Education Leaders, August 2003

    Read the article: Click: The ABC's of Early Ed.

    September 30, 2003- Study Less Than One Hour A Day

    A new Brookings Institution report debunks the popular notion that U.S. schoolchildren suffer from a growing homework load, and do not have enough time to play and just be kids. According to a new report by the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institute, the great majority of students at all grade levels now spend less than one hour studying on a typical day, an amount that has not changed substantially in at least twenty years. The Brown Center will release the report tomorrow, October 1.

    September 29, 2003- Lower Graduation/College-Readiness Rates

    Using U.S. Department of Education data, researchers from the Manhattan Institute in New York determined that only 70 percent of all students in the public high school class of 2001 graduated. The report also estimates college-readiness rates using data on what courses students completed, literacy skills, and graduation rates. The study concludes that only 32 percent of graduates left high school qualified to attend a four-year college. It found that more than half of our high school graduates are not taking courses required by even the least selective four-year colleges. In a related observation, a Toledo Blade editorial reported that Kati Haycock, Director of the Education Trust, said about 40 percent of low-income youngsters who are in the top quarter of all kids nationally do not go to college. She said for them money and access aren’t there.

    For more information, Click: "Public High School Graduation and College Readiness Rates in the United States"

    September 26, 2003- Widening Gap Between Rich And Poor

    The wealth disparity in the United States is so great that the richest 1 percent of Americans in 2000 had more money to spend after taxes than the bottom 40 percent, according to an analysis of government data released earlier this week. The richest 2.8 million Americans had 15.5 percent of $6.2 trillion after taxes in 2000. The poorest 110 million Americans shared 14.4 percent of all-after tax money.

    In 2000, the top 1 percent of American taxpayers had $862,700 each after taxes, on average, more than triple the $286,300 they had, adjusted for inflation, in 1979. The bottom 40 percent in 2000 had $21,118 each, up 13 percent from their $18,695 average in 1979.

    Read the Akron Beacon Journal article. Click: Disparity grows in U.S.

    Sources: Akron Beacon Journal (September 26, 2005), New York Times, Congressional Budget Office, and Center of Budget and Policy Priorities

    September 25, 2003- South Korea Tops U.S. In Education Investment

    South Korea has overtaken the United States and many other wealthy nations in key measures of educational quality, including investment in education as a percentage of gross domestic product, according to a report released last week by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). South Korea invested 7.1 percent of its gross domestic product in education in 2000, the most recent year for which data is available. That topped the 7.0 percent figure for the United States, according to the report. The average education investment for the OECD nations was 5.9 percent of GDP, or the total value of goods and services that a nation produces, which is a standard measure of the size of a nation's economy.

    For more information, Click: "Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators -2003 Edition"

    Source: Education Week, September 24, 2003

    September 24, 2003- Standards-based Approach To Education

    The next CORAS program, Understanding the Standards-based Approach to Education, is scheduled for Tuesday, October 28, 2003. The meeting will be held at the Ohio University Inn, Athens, beginning at 9:00 AM. Dr. Jim Mahoney and Barb Leeper, Battelle for Kids, will present "Learning Maps:" Aligning Standards, Instruction, Assessment and Accountability. This presentation is designed for building principals, curriculum administrators and teachers, as well as superintendents. Mark your calendar and bring a team from your district! Registration materials will be mailed to member schools in early October.

    September 23, 2003- "...their one chance for a better life."

    "For some kids, the public school system is their one chance for a better life. If they don't get an education, they are headed for the scrap heap, and we can't afford to let that happen." ...quote by former Ohio governor John J. Gilligan explaining why, at age 82, he is running for re-election to the Cincinnati Board of Education. (Cincinnati Enquirer, September 23, 2003)

    September 22, 2003- In The News...

    * "Last year, House Speaker Larry Householder made a grand public show of appointing committees to consider how Ohio's tax structure might be reformed and how its government might be made more efficient. That much-ballyhooed endeavor turned out to be all talk. And as a partial result, Ohio has bounced from one fiscal crisis to another over the last two years." ...quote from an editorial in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 21, 2003

    * A federal law designed to help children flee unsafe public schools will apply to students in only six states, according to a USA TODAY/Gannett News Service survey. The survey found that only 52 of the nation's 85,000 schools are labeled "unsafe." The state education departments in 44 states and the District of Columbia say they have no persistently dangerous schools. The 52 schools making the list are located in Pennsylvania with 28, Nevada with eight, New Jersey with seven, Texas with six, New York with two and Oregon with one. ...USA TODAY, September 19, 2003

    * A student who is enrolled in a "cyber charter" school does not have a constitutional right to play basketball at her local high school, a U.S. District judge ruled on September 3, 2003. The judge granted a motion by a Pennsylvania school district to dismiss claims to "the right to participate" by a student enrolled in a western Pennsylvania charter school.

    ...Education Week, September 17, 2003

    September 19, 2003- Higher Achievement For Poor Children

    A preschool program for 4-year-olds from poor families led to higher student achievement in elementary school, according to a study recently released by the Educational Research Service in Arlington, Virginia. The study focused on a preschool program in North Carolina. It followed 1,382 four-year old children who attended preschool during the 1997-98 school year through 3rd grade. In nearly all categories, the children attending preschool scored considerably higher than a comparison group of other children from poor families. To obtain a copy of this study or view a catalog of ERS Early Childhood Education resources, Click: Early Childhood Education

    September 18, 2003- Teacher Quality

    A report commissioned by the Economic Policy Institute, Washington D.C., reveals the factors in teacher education and experience that are most likely to raise teacher effectiveness and student achievement. The report discusses teacher experience, teacher preparation programs and degrees, teacher certification, teacher coursework and teachers' own test scores.

    Read an executive summary of the report. Click: "Teacher Quality: Understanding the Effectiveness of Teacher Attributes"

    September 17, 2003- "complacent, self-satisfied and often lacking the will to do better"

    According to USA TODAY, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, released its annual review of education in industrialized nations. The report said, "The United States spends more public and private money on education than other major countries, but its performance doesn't measure up in areas ranging from high-school graduation rates to test scores in math, reading and science." In response to the report, U. S. Education Secretary Rod Paige said, "These results highlight an extremely important truth about our educational system: I think we have become complacent, self-satisfied and often lacking the will to do better," Read USA TODAY article. Click: U.S. Tops in School Funds, But Not Test Scores

    September 16, 2003- CORAS Meeting/ ODE Website

    On October 28, 2003 CORAS will present a program Understanding the Standards-Based Approach to Education: Aligning Standards, Instruction, Assessment and Accountability. The presentation will utilize The Learning Map, a unique tool based on the notion of learning through self-discovery, developed by Battelle for Kids. The program will be held at the Ohio University Inn, Athens. MARK OCTOBER 28, 2003 ON YOUR CALENDAR. In related information, the Ohio Department of Education has developed a website to help students, parents and teachers understand Ohio's new academic content standards. The website also explains what children are expected to know and be able to do at each grade level. The information is available at:

    September 15, 2003- High School Sports Gender Gap Narrows

    A USA TODAY analysis has found that the rate of high school girls playing varsity sports continues on a slow but steady rise, while overall boys participation rate has been relatively flat. The three-year period, 2001-2003, shows the average participation rates for boys was 46.9 percent and girls 33.7 percent. During the three-years, 1980 to 1982, just over 20 percent of girls and almost 45 percent of boys participated in varsity sports. Boys and girls ages 14-17 were included in the study. Source: USA TODAY, September 12, 2003

    September 12, 2003- Court Rulings

    In June 2003, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a Texas school district was wrong to insist that a teacher move her children from private to public school to be considered for a promotion to assistant principal.

    In June 2002 an Arkansas local school board voted to remove Harry Potter books from library shelves and require written parental permission before students could check them out. In April 2003, a U.S. District Judge ruled that the school board's policy violated students' First Amendment rights. Source: Teacher Magazine, September 2003

    September 11, 2003- "Something Doesn't Add Up"

    "Something doesn't add up," according to the Associated Press. This year's ACT test scores were released recently with the announcement that incoming college freshmen were largely unprepared for math and science classes. A week later, results from the SAT show math scores at a 35-year high.

    The ACT scores for the Class of 2003 were identical in math and science to last year. In the past five years, math and science scores have dropped slightly on the test. Researchers for the ACT, after analyzing this year's results, concluded that just 26 percent of test takers were ready to handle college course work in science and 40 percent in math.

    Meanwhile, the SAT math scores were the best since 1967. In addition, math scores on the SAT have increased by eight points since 1999.

    September 10, 2003- "in need of improvement"

    “After two years of failing to make adequate progress on implementing the teacher quality provisions in NCLB, the Department [U.S. Department of Education] is ‘in need of improvement’ on this issue." ...Quote from The Education Trust news release, dated September 3, 2003

    September 9, 2003- Praxis II

    The Educational Testing Service announced recently that it will come up with a single passing score for the Praxis II teacher-licensing exam used in 23 states, including Ohio. Currently, each state sets its own minimum passing score and there is wide disparity in cutoff scores among the states.

    September 8, 2003- Annual Yearly Progress

    Seventy-nine percent of Ohio schools met the "adequate yearly progress" (AYP) for the 2002-03 academic year under the No Child Left Behind law. According to Education Week, 829 (21 percent) of Ohio schools failed to meet the AYP standard. Only 8 percent of Minnesota schools did not meet the "annual yearly progress" standard. While a preliminary report from Florida shows that 2,535 schools, or 87 percent, failed to meet the AYP benchmark.

    September 5, 2003- In The News...

    * According to the Ohio Department of Education, 82 percent of classes in the state are taught by highly qualified teachers. In high-poverty schools, 78 percent of classes are taught by highly qualified teachers. ...Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 5, 2003

    * The Ohio Elections Commission yesterday ordered the Ohio Chamber of Commerce to reveal contributors and the amounts they gave to the unsuccessful effort to defeat Ohio Supreme Court Justice Alice Robie Resnick in the November 2000 general election. ...Toledo Blade, September 5, 2003

    * Beachwood City Schools (Cuyahoga County) will become part of a growing technological trend this fall when all middle school students and teachers get their own laptop computers. ...Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 4, 2003

    * According to the Ohio Department of Education, of the 58 Ohio charter schools that received an academic rating, 36 (about 61 percent) were in academic emergency. That's compared with 338 of 3,718 schools (about 10 percent) of all state public schools receiving an academic emergency rating. ...Cincinnati Enquirer, September 5, 2003

    September 4, 2003- Districts Fail To Meet AYP Standards

    According to the Associated Press, eighteen Ohio school districts receiving an Excellent rating on the Local District Report Card failed to meet the federal annual yearly progress (AYP) standard. Five of the school districts met 22 of 22 state standards and the other thirteen met 21 of the 22 standards. These school districts must now develop improvement plans to meet federal AYP standards. The AP article suggested that some people are frustrated by these "double" ratings, particularly when attempting to provide a reasonable explanation to parents.

    AP pointed out that state standards primarily measure the ability of students to score at a certain level on proficiency tests. The federal standards include criterion that school districts must meet annually for minority students, poor children and those with disabilities.

    September 3, 2003- More Children Living In Poverty

    According to a Census Bureau survey, nearly 1.4 million more people in the United States fell into poverty last year, almost half of them children. The survey said about 12.4 percent of the nation's population, or nearly 34.8 million people, lived in poverty in 2002. In Ohio, the survey estimated that 1.3 million individuals were living in poverty, or just under 12 percent of the state's population. That was up about 103,000 from 2001. The survey estimated that 272,513 Ohio families were in poverty last year, an increase of 26,525 from 2000.

    The Census Bureau report found significant increases in the number of Ohio families with young children in poverty. The survey found the number of poor Ohio families with children under 5 increased by an estimated 19,144 to reach 62,478 in 2002. The poor families with young children increased also, making up 22.9 percent of all poor families, compared with an estimated 17.6 percent in 2000. The poverty level for a household of three including one child was $14,480.

    Source: The Associated Press

    September 2, 2003- Low Marks For Charter Schools

    According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, three out of four of the eighty-eight Ohio charter schools that received Local District Report Cards from the state were either in "academic emergency" or on "academic watch," the two lowest designations. Nearly 80 percent of those same schools failed to show "adequate yearly progress," the federal academic standard. This is the first year charter schools received report cards.

    August 29, 2003- Changes In Class Size/Hours Worked

    According to the National Education Association's "Status of the American Public School Teacher," the latest survey (from the 2000-2001 school year) released yesterday, finds that most elementary school teachers have 21 students per class, down from 29 in 1961, the survey's first year. Secondary school teachers have 28 students, up from 27 in 1961, but teach fewer a day. High school teachers averaged 132 students a day in 1966. By 2001, that was down to 89. No figures exist for 1961.

    The survey found the average teacher, in 2000-01, spent three more hours a week on the job than in 1961. High school teachers have an average of 32 minutes for lunch, compared with 40 minutes in 1961. For elementary school teachers, lunch break is down a full 12 minutes from 1961's 44 minutes.

    Read the NEA news release and/or access the full report, "Status of the American Public School Teacher." Click: More...

    August 28, 2003- Studies and Reports

    * Did you know that more than half of high school seniors thought that Italy, Germany or Japan was a U.S. ally in World War II. According to a 2001 national sampling of 12th-graders, 24 percent answered "Italy"; 19 percent, "Germany"; 9 percent, "Japan." The other half-48 percent-correctly answered "the Soviet Union." ...National Center for Education Statistics, The Nation's Report Card: U.S. History 2001.

    * A National Education Association report said only two out of 10 teachers in America's classrooms are men, the lowest figure in 40 years. According to the report, male teachers made up about one-third of the teaching force in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, but their numbers slid through the '90s and hit the low of 21 percent in 2001. ..."Status of the American Public School Teacher," National Education Association

    * The annual report, "The State of Our Nation's Youth ," a survey on youth attitudes released in July 2003, said fifty-eight percent of students said they have their own television, and 45% have their own cell phone. Almost all students (97%) said there is a computer in their home. Read the survey report. Click: The State of Our Nation's Youth 2003 ...State of Our Nation's Youth 2003

    August 27, 2003- 2003 SAT, ACT Results

    The nation's average total SAT score rose six points this year over 2002. The average SAT math score nationally rose three points to 519 and the average verbal score rose three points to 507, for a total of 1026. The nation's overall math score has increased 16 points since 1993, and is the highest in 36 years. The verbal score has increased by seven points during the last 10 years, and is a 16 year high. Ohio’s 2003 SAT average total score was 1077, with an average score of 536 on the verbal test and 541 on the mathematics test. Nationally, the Class of 2003 earned an average composite score of 20.8 on the ACT college-entrance exam, matching last year's total. Ohio's average ACT score was 21.4. This year the ACT also examined test scores to look at skills students will need for first-year math, science and English courses in college. Researchers concluded that only 26 percent of test-takers in science, 40 percent in math and 67 percent in English, were prepared to handle college coursework. The ACT said students who take higher-level math and science courses in high school tend to score better on the exam. Sources: Washington Post, Associated Press and Ohio Department of Education

    August 26, 2003- Teachers Buy Classroom Supplies

    A recent nationwide survey, by the National School Supply and Equipment Association in Silver Spring, Maryland, found that teachers spent an average of $589 of their own money on classroom supplies in 2001, up from $448 in 1999. Beginning teachers spend about $700 a year, while earning less money, according to Quality Education Data, a Colorado-based research firm owned by Scholastic Inc. In 2002, there was a $250 federal tax credit for educators who spend their own money on classroom materials. The credit was extended to this year. According to the Washington Post, the National Education Association and some lawmakers are now lobbying for a permanent and much larger tax credit that would cover teachers personal expenses for classroom supplies and professional conferences.

    August 25, 2003- NCLB Guide

    The Learning First Alliance, a partnership of 12 leading national education associations, has developed A Practical Guide to Talking With Your Community About No Child Left Behind and Schools in Need of Improvement to help schools, districts and communities understand and respond to the requirements of the law. The materials give special attention to those schools that will be labeled "in need of improvement." The Learning First Alliance, a partnership of 12 leading national education associations, has developed A Practical Guide to Talking With Your Community About No Child Left Behind and Schools in Need of Improvement to help schools, districts and communities understand and respond to the requirements of the law. The materials give special attention to those schools that will be labeled "in need of improvement."

    The web-based materials are designed to help districts, schools, parents and teacher leaders explain and discuss the law, its requirements and its implications for local schools and districts. The materials are intended to assist local efforts to rally community support for school improvement. They do not advocate for or against specific provisions in NCLB and can be adapted to fit each state and local context.

    The materials include: Talking points for principals and superintendents
  • Tips for framing the discussion with the community and media
  • Strategies for school/district personnel and community dialogues
  • Timelines
  • Additional resources The materials can be downloaded from the Learning First Alliance website: Click: A Practical Guide to Talking With Your Community About No Child Left Behind and Schools in Need of Improvement

    August 22, 2003- Poll: School-funding Biggest Problem Facing Schools

    Poll results released this week by Phi Delta Kappa International and Gallup said school funding is seen by 25 percent of respondents "as the biggest problem schools in their communities must face," followed by discipline, cited by 16 percent, and overcrowding, 14 percent. In addition, the poll showed that 73 percent of respondents believe education reform should come through existing public schools, up from 69 percent in 2002, while the number of those seeking an alternative system is 25 percent, slightly down from 27 percent last year. Sixty percent of the respondents said their local school system has a hard time getting good teachers, and two-thirds said they have a hard time keeping them. About the same number said teacher salaries were too low and should be increased. The complete poll ,35th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitude Toward Public Schools, can be found at: 35th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll or on the PDK website at:

    August 21, 2003- In The News....

    * Support for vouchers, a program that allows students and parents to choose a private school to attend at public expense, dropped to 38 percent from 46 percent last year, according to the nationwide poll conducted by Phi Delta Kappa International and Gallup. ....Associated Press

    * According to the Ohio Department of Education, 191 schools need improvement (schools failing to meet new federal standards for boosting scores of all schoolchildren). That's up from 161 schools. ....Cleveland Plain Dealer

    * Based on a new measurement meant to gauge overall progress, the average of all students' scores increased from a 74 percent passage rate in the 1999-00 school year to 83 percent last year, according to the Ohio Department of Education. ...Associated Press

    * Ohio students statewide achieved just 10 of 22 academic and performance standards. ....Associated Press

    * Sixteen districts were listed in academic emergency, down from 18 last year. Eighty-five districts were listed as excellent, down from 109 last year. ....Ohio Department of Education

    August 20, 2003- 2002-03 Local District Report Card Ratings

    The Ohio Department of Education released the 2002-03 Local District Report Cards yesterday. 85 Ohio school districts achieved an Excellent rating; 177 were rated Effective; 278 received Continuous Improvement; 52 are on Academic Watch; and 16 were rated Academic Emergency. 608 of the 612 Ohio school districts were included in the ratings.

    There are 126 school districts in the 29 Ohio Appalachian counties. The Appalachian districts received the following ratings: Two Ohio Appalachian school districts achieved an Excellent rating; 23 were rated Effective; 77 were listed as Continuous Improvement; 21 were rated Academic Watch; and 3 received an Academic Emergency rating.

    The two Ohio Appalachian school districts receiving an Excellent rating were: Dover City School District (Tuscarawas) and Fairland Local School District (Lawrence).

    How Ohio Appalachian School Districts compared, by percentage in each category, to all school districts in Ohio and to the non-Appalachian Ohio school Districts in 2002-03.

      All Ohio Districts Appalachian Districts Non-Appalachian Districts
      (608 Districts) (126 Districts) (482 Districts)
    Excellent 14.0% 1.6% 17.2%
    Effective 29.1% 18.3% 32.0%
    Continuous Improvement 45.7% 61.1% 41.7%
    Academic Watch 8.6% 16.6% 6.4%
    Academic Emergency 2.6% 2.4% 2.7%



    Want to compare these results with last year?

    Here are the percentages for 2001-02.

      All Ohio Districts Appalachian Districts Non-Appalachian Districts
      (608 Districts) (126 Districts) (482 Districts)
    Excellent 17.9% 4.8% 21.4%
    Effective 31.4% 23.0% 33.6%
    Continuous Improvement 42.3% 62.7% 36.9%
    Academic Watch 5.4% 7.1% 5.0%
    Academic Emergency 3.0% 2.4% 3.1%


    Here is the comparison by the number of Ohio school districts in each category.

      2002-03 2001-02
    Excellent (21-22) 85 districts 109 districts
    Effective (17-20) 177 districts 191 districts
    Continuous Improvement (11-16) 278 districts 257 districts
    Academic Watch (7-10) 52 districts 33 districts
    Academic Emergency (0-6) 16 districts 18 districts


    Here is the comparison by the number of Ohio Appalachian school districts in each category.

      2002-03 2001-02
    Excellent (21-22) 2 districts 6 districts
    Effective (17-20) 23 districts 29 districts
    Continuous Improvement (11-16) 77 districts 79 districts
    Academic Watch (7-10) 21 districts 9 districts
    Academic Emergency (0-6) 3 districts 3 districts


    NOTE: Keep in mind that in 2002-03, for the first time, scores from students with disabilities were included in the ratings.

    August 19, 2003- Lack of High-Level Leadership Skills?

    A study, reported on the Center on Reinventing Public Education, University of Washington website, finds there are far more candidates certified to be principals than there are principal vacancies to fill. The study reveals that the problem is not an overall shortage in the supply of principals, but rather that candidates are inequitably distributed between schools and districts. According to the study, "the perception of a shortage is exacerbated, because superintendents are not finding the high-level leadership skills they seek in applicants."

    Read the Executive Summary of the study: A Matter of Definition: Is There Truly a Shortage of School Principals? By Marguerite Roza (January 2003) 2nd printing (August 2003) Click:

    August 18, 2003- Local District Report Cards

    The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) will release Local District Report Cards tomorrow morning. As a result of the No Child Left Behind Act and state law, several changes will occur. Some of the changes are: * School districts will get credit for the improvement students make, even if those districts fail to reach the state's targets for test passage. A "performance index" will be used to measure student academic progress.

    * Individual schools, as well as school districts, will be labeled with the designations "excellent," "effective," "continuous improvement," "academic watch" or "academic emergency."

    * Schools and school districts will be measured by "average yearly progress" (AYP). AYP is part of the federal mandate that all children master basic reading and mathematics skills by the 2013-14 school year. If a school fails to reach its academic target for two straight years, parents may transfer their children to another school within the district.

    * To cut costs, ODE will not be mailing the report cards to the homes of all public-school parents. Instead, parents can request a copy from their child's school, or view the information online.

    August 15, 2003- Petition For Writ Of Certiorari

    Yesterday, the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari with the United States Supreme Court. The petition does not ask the Court to deal with the merits of the school finance issue. That issue has been settled. The Ohio Supreme Court has declared Ohio's school funding system unconstitutional on four occasions. The question presented for review focuses on due process and equal protection. The specific question being presented to the U.S. Supreme Court is: “Have the Petitioners been deprived of their right, under the United States Constitution, to due process and equal protection of law by the decision of the Supreme Court of Ohio barring them access to Ohio’s courts for the enforcement of a final judgment, including remedial orders, entitling Petitioners to affirmative relief?”

    August 14, 2003- Research-based Reading Curriculum

    According to the U.S. Department of Education, three large-scale reviews (the reviews were not identified) of kindergarten to third-grade reading research have demonstrated that the following five instructional elements lead to increases in young children's reading achievement: (1) explicit phonemic awareness instruction, (2) explicit systematic phonics instruction, (3) guided repeated oral reading, (4) direct and indirect vocabulary instruction, and (5) explicit teaching of comprehension skills. Source: The Achiever, a publication of the U.S. Department of Education, June 2003.

    August 13, 2003- U.S. Schools Continue To Grow

    According to Census Bureau figures released Monday, more than 73 million students attend the nation's preschools, elementary and high schools, colleges and universities. One out of every four U.S. residents over the age of three is a student. The number of children in elementary and high schools alone (more than 53 million) has exceeded the old baby-boom record of 51.6 million, set in 1969, the last year the official boomers (born 1946-64) passed through our schools. More than half (52 percent) of our 3 and 4 year-olds go to preschool, up from 21 percent in 1970. According to the census figures, six out of 10 of them attend all-day preschools, up from one in 10 three decades ago.

    Among those students ages 5-17, 10 percent attend private school and 850,000 are home-schooled. There are 1,010 charter schools nationwide, serving 267,000 students. Source: The Washington Times Read the article. Click: U.S. School System Booms

    August 12, 2003- September 10 CORAS Meeting

    Mark September 10, 2003 on your calandar. The first CORAS meeting of the 2003-04 school year will be held on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 at the Olde Dutch Restaurant in Logan. Dick Maxwell, BASA Executive Director, school finance expert and member of the Governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Financing Student Achievement will provide insight on school funding for the coming school year and beyond. William L. Phillis, Executive Director of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding, will discuss the future of the E&A Coalition and the petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. The petition to the U.S. Supreme Court deals with the lack of remedy enforcement in the DeRolph case. Registration materials will be mailed this week to CORAS members. Others may register by contacting Lori at 740-593-4414 or 740-593-4445 or by email at There is a $15.00 registration fee.

    August 11, 2003- Kindergarten Data

    Need Kindergarten data? The Education Commission of the States has a new Web site featuring current information on states' kindergarten policies. The site provides information on how states support, develop, and pay for full-day kindergarten. To view the web site click: kindergarten-policy information

    August 8, 2003- Today's News

    * The financing system should promote student achievement, provide schools with funding that is "stable and grows appropriately" and ensure that all students, regardless of the wealth of their district, have an opportunity to succeed and it also has to be affordable, Governor Taft told the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Funding Student Achievement at its first meeting yesterday.

    * The Ohio Department of Education said that no schools in Ohio will be designated "persistently dangerous" as a part of review required under the No Child Left Behind Act. Students attending a school designated "persistently dangerous" has the right to transfer to another school within the district.

    * On Thursday, the Ohio Senate passed Ohio’s school accountability plan under the No Child Left Behind Act by a 29-3 vote. The House of Representatives must do the same next week to ensure that Ohio receives $400 million from the federal government for disadvantaged students

    August 7, 2003- Few States Have "Fully Approved" NCLB Plans

    According to Education Week, President Bush announced that every state had a federally approved plan for ensuring that all students are proficient in reading and math by 2013-14. But follow-up letters lay out a number of conditions that states must meet before their accountability plans under the "No Child Left Behind" Act of 2001 are deemed "fully approved."

    Education Week said that only five states, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Oregon, and Texas, have accountability plans "fully approved" as of July 1. And another six states, Florida, Missouri, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming, were informed that they would receive final approval when they confirmed that specified provisions in their plans were correct.

    The Akron Beacon Journal reported the Ohio Senate is holding in a special session today to try to pass accountability legislation that will bringing Ohio regulations in line with the No Child Left Behind Act and avert the loss of millions of dollars in federal aid.

    View the Accountability Plans of other states. Click: "State Accountability Plans." (Requires Adobe's Acrobat Reader.)

    August 6, 2003- NEA Sues Over Freedom Of Information Request

    An Associated Press report said the National Education Association has sued the U.S. Department of Education, accusing the agency of stonewalling over a request for public information. NEA wants documents detailing the department's interpretation of a section of the new federal education law. At issue is a provision dealing with the protection of school employees' rights. NEA said it filed a Freedom of Information Act request on April 10, 2003 and that education department officials failed to respond by the legal deadline or offer a reason why they could not. The suit seeks to force the department to hand over the requested papers. The U.S. Department of Education said they will hand over the materials.

    August 5, 2003- Who Will Speak For Your School District?

    Representation from the "trenches" appears to be lacking in numbers on Governor Taft's Blue Ribbon Task Force On Financing Student Success. A school treasurer from Clermont county and two school superintendents from Cuyahoga county are the only school district employees named to the 33-member task force. Likewise, school districts in the 29 rural Appalachian counties received only limited representation, with one practitioner (a school treasurer from Clermont county) on the 33-member task force. Two other task force members reside in an Ohio Appalachian community. They are the governor's budget director and a State Board of Education member appointed by Governor Taft. The Blue Ribbon Task Force On Financing Student Success will hold its first meeting this Thursday, August 7, 2003 at 2:00 p.m. on the 31st floor of the Riffe State Office Building, 77 South High Street, Columbus. Meetings are open to the public.

    August 4, 2003- In The News...

    * "As it struggled to balance a state budget described as the tightest in decades, the Ohio legislature this spring managed to earmark more than $26 million for local pet projects pushed by lawmakers and lobbyists." ...Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 3, 2003 Read the article. Click: Despite state crisis, lawmakers set aside money for folks back home * "Brett Buerck, the top aide to House Speaker Larry Householder, is leaving to launch his own consulting business and help position Householder for a possible statewide race in 2006." ...Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 2, 2003 Read the Article. Click: Aide to help Householder aim toward '06 election * Twenty-three Ohio school districts are seeking levies in special elections Tuesday, many of them blaming lower-than-expected state aid. In August 2002, only seven of 20 school ballot issues passed. Over the past five years, 37 percent of August school issues have been successful, compared with 63 percent for all school elections, according to the Ohio Department of Education. ...Akron Beacon Journal, August 4, 2003.

    * "By the end of the 2005-06 school year, schools must have highly qualified teachers in each classroom. In Title I schools, where students need the most assistance, all new hires must meet this requirement now." ...quote from letter sent by U.S Secretary of Education Rod Paige to Chief State School Officers regarding implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, dated July 28, 2003.

    July 28, 2003- What is Unsafe?

    Re-printed from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, July 27, 2003



    The Ohio Department of Education defines a school as "persistently dangerous" if there are:

    Two or more violent criminal offenses per 100 students on school grounds in each of two consecutive years. Or if there are, regardless of enrollment, five or more such offenses on school grounds in each of two consecutive years.

    Two or more weapon-related incidents (for which a student is removed from school) per 100 students in each of two consecutive school years. Or if there are, in schools with 300 or fewer students, six or more such incidents in each of two consecutive school years. Or if there are, in schools with 1,350 or more students, 27 or more such incidents in each of two consecutive school years.


    Visit the ODE safe schools website. Click:

    July 25, 2003- Education News Around the Nation

    HEAD START: The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on the The School Readiness Act which aims to focus Head Start on academics. Critics say this would relegate Head Start's tradition of family services to a secondary role. The bill's proponents charge that Head Start, which serves low-income preschool children, is failing those kids. They claim the only way to prepare the children to compete with their wealthier peers is to lift them academically before they enter public school.

    VOUCHERS: Colorado lawmakers approved a plan to give vouchers to low-income students with poor academic records in 15 districts. Colorado joins Florida, Wisconsin, and Ohio, which have expanded their voucher programs. The U.S. House of Representatives is currently debating vouchers for Washington D.C. Attempts to launch voucher programs in Arizona, Louisiana, and Texas, have failed.

    CHARTER SCHOOLS: Two of California's largest and oldest charter schools are suing the state after the Department of Education asked them to pay back millions of taxpayer dollars.

    July 24, 2003- Loan Forgiveness In High-Poverty Schools

    The U. S. Senate is about to begin hearings on the U.S. House of Representatives teacher loan-forgiveness plan. Under the proposed bill, teachers of secondary school mathematics or science and elementary special education could qualify for $17,500 in loan forgiveness if they work for five years in high-poverty schools. The bill also provides that teachers could receive graduated amounts of loan forgiveness if they spend fewer than five years in such schools.

    For more information, and to follow the progress of the bill, Click: and then Click; Legislation and Records. Under Bill Search, enter "teacher loan forgiveness"

    July 23, 2003- Local Property Taxes Will Continue To Increase

    Gannett News Service reported today that local school districts are "rushing to the ballot at a pace that state officials do not expect to slow anytime soon," especially after lawmakers trimmed state funding from an expected 2.8 percent annual increase to 2.2 percent. Gannett said Ohio voters have approved 117 new school district taxes since November.

    In addition, college tuition continues to skyrocket as state funding lags. Most state universities in Ohio are expected to increase tuition up to the 9.9 percent cap. At Ohio State University, tuition will go up 12.9 percent.

    July 18, 2003- Pupil Count Unchanged...& Other News

    * Instead of a proposal to count children twice, in October and March, lawmakers have agreed to return to the current practice of one count in October with three-year averaging, Senate Education Chairman Robert Gardner said Thursday, according to the Associated Press. * The Toledo Blade reported today that the Ohio General Assembly is expected to convene for one day in early August to bring Ohio into compliance with the federal No Child Left Behind Act and remove the possibility of the state losing $400 million in federal aid. * According to the Arizona Republic, Reg Weaver, President of the NEA, said the goal of the federal government's No Child Left Behind Act is to label public schools a failure and to privatize education. He warned teachers not to be pushed out of the debate by political foes who call them "a special-interest group." "You tell them, 'Yes I am. And my special interest happens to be children,' " Weaver said. "And when they tell you you don't care about the kids and just want to spend money, you ask them, 'What money?' "

    July 17, 2003- Lottery Not Boon For Schools

    Most state lotteries are portrayed to the public as providing large amounts of money to education. As we all know, the actual results are a bit different. Marjorie Coeyman, staff writer for the Christian Science Monitor, reported that in Ohio, pouring lottery proceeds into education actually caused state spending on schools to shrink, according to a study by graduate student Thomas Garnett published by the Buckeye Institute in Dayton. Coeyman said the study demonstrated that after Ohio's 1974 promise to devote all lottery winnings to public schools, state spending on education dropped from 42 percent of its total budget in 1973 to 29 percent in 1994. Molly Burke, researcher at the Education Commission of the States in Denver, said "The proceeds from state lotteries are less than you might think. Even if they're all earmarked toward education, it isn't a huge amount. It's never quite as much as states would like the schools and the taxpayers to think." Richard McGowan, a professor at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, said, "Many times you're really allowing the state to spend the money in other places rather than the schools. It's not a bonus for the schools but a substitution." John Augenblick, president of a consulting firm in Denver that specializes in state education-policy finances, said, "The fact that you vote for a lottery that's going to add $100 million to education doesn't mean that education will get $100 million. The government may take back $75 million in property taxes. There's probably a net gain, but it's not large." Read the Coeyman article. Click: Lottery Isn't Always A Boon To Schools

    July 16, 2003- High School Redesign Task Force

    The State Board of Education announced yesterday the creation of a new statewide high school redesign task force. The Cincinnati Enquirer said the task force is to determine why so many students drop out and why so few graduates are prepared to enter college or the workforce.

    About 20 percent of Ohio's ninth-graders never graduate, said Susan Tave Zelman, Ohio's superintendent of public instruction. In some Ohio districts, fewer than half of ninth-graders graduate. Melissa Ingwersen, co-chairwoman of the new task force and president of Bank One in Ohio, said part of the problem is that many high schools have not changed the way they educate students in the past 100 years, even though businesses have been revolutionized by technology and other industry innovations, the Enquirer reported.

    The task force will be made up of about 30 educators, school board members, business leaders and community members. Recommendations are to be submitted to the state board in June 2004. KnowledgeWorks and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations have contributed $500,000 to support the work of the task force.

    July 11, 2003- Researchers Reject Test Results.

    According to USA Today, education expert Gerald Bracey of George Mason University, says the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) writing proficiency tests have been rejected by many researchers as setting expectations that are too high. In addition, he criticizes the way standardized writing tests are graded, saying they are "scored by $7-an-hour temps who spend, at most, 30 seconds on an essay."

    Recent proficiency test results show that U.S. students' writing has improved modestly in the past four years, but few write well: Only one in four 12th-graders and fewer than one in three fourth- and eighth-graders can write stories or essays proficiently, says NAEP, widely recognized as "the nation's report card."

    July 10, 2003- In The News....

    * The Columbus Dispatch reported today that a House panel has endorsed, and the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to pass, President Bush’s proposed 2004 budget for the Appalachian Regional Commission. The President's budget called for cutting the amount the commission receives from $66.4 million to $33.1 million. The commission provides aid to 29 Appalachian counties in Ohio, as well as counties in 12 other states. If the budget is approved, Ohio could lose up to $2.5 million annually in non-highway funds. Ohio officials claim this would "prove devastating to economic-development initiatives in the state’s 29 Appalachian counties." * According to the Associated Press, Ohio's Senator Robert Gardner and Representative John Schlichter are asking the U.S. Department of Education for more time to approve a school accountability plan as required by the No Child Left Behind Act. In a letter to federal officials, they wrote, "We do believe that a House-Senate conference committee can resolve all outstanding issues and vote ... within the next few weeks. Then in September, when the full legislature is scheduled to return, both chambers will agree to the conference committee report." The Ohio General Assembly failed, before adjourning in June, to reach agreement on a bill that would align Ohio's school system with the federal law. The U.S. Department of Education has threatened to withhold $403.7 million in education money from Ohio. * The Associated Press said the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) Board is hiring an outside company to conduct a performance audit of the fund. AP said some members have expressed concern about the management of the fund, particularly the spending of millions of dollars on bonuses, artwork and travel while assets plunged. Since August 2000, according to recent media reports, STRS has given out $14 million dollars in bonuses to employees and spent $869,000 on eight pieces of artwork for its renovated office building. Over the same period, the value of the fund's assets declined by $12.3 billion.

    July 8, 2003- Comparing Teacher Salaries

    A survey by the American Federation of Teachers, and reported recently by, revealed that in 2001-02 ( the most recent data available), average teachers salaries in the United States ranged from a high of $54,348 in California to a low of $31,383 in South Dakota. The U.S. average is $44,400. Beginning teachers are paid an average starting salary of $30,719, according to the report.

    In 2001-02, Ohio's average teachers salary was $44,266. The average salary in the 29 Ohio Appalachian counties was $38,148. The lowest average salary for a school district in the Appalachian region was only $28,153, according to ODE data.

    In June 2003, Education Week reported that Richard Vedder, an economics professor, argues that, "based on government data, teachers' average weekly and hourly earnings compare favorably to those of other professional workers. Factor in generous fringe benefits and higher-than-normal job security, Vedder suggests, and most teachers have little to complain about."

    July 3, 2003- NEA To Challenge NCLB Act

    According to USA Today the National Education Association (NEA) plans to sue the federal government on behalf of states, school districts and teachers to amend or throw out President Bush's No Child Left Behind education law. The NEA said Wednesday that schools can't be forced to pay for the law's extensive testing, tutoring and transfer requirements. The USA Today article quoted NEA general counsel Robert Chanin as saying, "We're prepared to take the criticism. We're going after this law."

    July 2, 2003- State To Revamp Regional Delivery System?

    Section 41.34 of recently enacted HB 95 requires the Ohio Department of Education, by no later than March 31, 2004, to recommend to the General Assembly plans for an "Ohio Regional Educational Delivery System to provide minimum core services and technical assistance to school districts." The law further states, "the recommendations shall address how the system should provide the state-funded core services currently provided by educational service centers, regional professional development centers, special education regional resource centers, area media centers, school improvement facilitators, Ohio SchoolNet regional services, data acquisition sites, educational technology centers, and other regional service providers." Read Section 41.34. Click: HB 95, Section 41.34

    Read ODE plan and timeline. Click: Ohio Regional Education Delivery System

    June 30, 2003- Tax Burden Shifted To Local Property Owner

    The Columbus Dispatch said Sunday that scaling back planned increases in state aid to schools and cutting business taxes that erode local tax revenues, "lawmakers pushes more of the tax burden for public education to residential and agricultural property owners." They pointed out that Ohio schools will receive about $150 million less than expected and business tax cuts will cost up to $327 million a year in anticipated revenues. Changes, cited by the Dispatch, that will shift the tax burden to local property owners include: * Lowering the inflationary factor used to calculate aid to schools to 2.2 percent, down from 2.8 percent. * Reducing the planned increase in parity aid for poor districts by 6 percent. * Eliminating state reimbursement to schools for tax revenues lost by the $10,000 exemption for business personal-property tax. * Accelerating the phase out of the business inventory tax to 2 percent for 12 years, from 1 percent over 25 years. The Dispatch Source: Ohio General Assembly

    June 26, 2003- State Teachers Retirement System

    According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, over 100 state lawmakers have called for the director of the State Teachers Retirement System to resign. They cited questionable spending practices and "a manifestation of arrogance." A Plain Dealer editorial said STRS Executive Director Herb Dyer, in a written response to a retiree, stated that retirement funds were the board's money "to distribute as they see fit." Read related articles. Cleveland Plain Dealer, 6/26/03. Click: 105 lawmakers demand teacher pension chief quit Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial, 6/26/03. Click: STRS needs a new leader Akron Beacon Journal editorial, 6/26/03. Click: Trust busted at STRS

    June 24, 2003- CORAS Summer Meeting

    Sixty members and guests attended the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools annual summer meeting and golf outing on June 19 at the EagleSticks Golf Club in Zanesville. The Buckeye Local (Jefferson County) Administrator Mentor Experience Program was featured. The program was presented by Buckeye Local Superintendent Jerry Vinci and members of his staff. Bob Caldwell was introduced as the 2003-04 CORAS President. Caldwell presented out-going President John Simmons with the "Presidents Award." In addition, retiring CORAS superintendents were recognized. A special presentation was made to CORAS superintendents for their district achieving either "excellent" or "effective" on the 2003 Local District Report Card. Following lunch, fifty-two members and guests participated in the annual CORAS golf outing. The next CORAS meeting is set for Wednesday, September 10, 2003. Dick Maxwell, BASA Executive Director and school finance expert, will present a "School Funding Update for FY 04-05." The meeting will be held at the Olde Dutch Restaurant in Logan.

    June 23, 2003- Additional Funding For Vouchers/Charter Schools

    Governor Taft is expected to sign the FY 03-04 budget bill this week. The bill changes Ohio's method of counting students for funding purposes. Beginning this year, school districts will count students twice, in October and March, and use a one-year instead of a three-year average. In addition, the OhioReads program is cut from $26.5 million to $12.9 million and the Seniors Teaching and Reaching Students program that pays seniors to tutor students is eliminated.

    While public school programs face cuts or elimination, funding for the Cleveland voucher program is increased by over $10 million to expand the program to grades 9 and 10 and about $18 million, intended for poor districts in parity aid, is shifted to charter schools.

    June 20, 2003- House-Senate Cut Education Funding

    Early this morning the Ohio House of Representative and the Ohio Senate passed the two-year budget for FY 04 and FY 05. Governor Taft's office said he would sign the budget, while reserving the right to line-item veto. According to media reports, the new budget will reduce per pupil basic aid from $5088 to $5068 the first year and from $5230 to $5169 the second year. In addition, parity aid to poor school districts was cut. The original parity aid plan was to be funded at 60 percent in 2003-04 and 80 percent in 2004-05. Under the new budget, parity aid will be funded at only 73 percent by the end of the biennium.

    While basic aid and parity aid to public schools were being cut, legislators increased funding for the Cleveland voucher program by $10.3 million to expand the pilot project into the ninth and 10th grades. In addition, according to the Akron Beacon Journal, lawmakers "agreed to transfer millions of dollars in parity aid -- designated for programs other than basic education -- from public schools to charter schools."

    June 19, 2003- In The News....

    * According to today's Columbus Dispatch, the House-Senate conference committee will cut primary and secondary education up to $198 million and colleges and universities $70 million from the Senate passed version of the budget. * The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that about 40,000 special education jobs nationally are filled by teachers not certified in that area. Slightly more than 158,000 new special education teachers will be needed nationwide by 2010. About 14,350, or 12 percent, of Ohio's 118,000 teachers are in special education classrooms.

    June 18, 2003- "Cut considerably," Senate School Funding Plan

    According to today's Columbus Dispatch, House Speaker Larry Householder has insisted that the $49.3 billion Senate spending plan be "cut considerably, especially in the area of primary and secondary education." The Dispatch also said that Speaker Householder and Senate President Doug White were reported to be tussling about how attendance should affect state aid to schools. Read a related story from last Sunday's Zanesville Times Recorder. Click: Has Householder changed his tune on school funding? »

    June 17, 2003- Costly Programs With Inadequate Funding

    The federal government promised schools 40 percent funding when the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was passed in 1975. According to the Associated Press the federal government currently provides only 18 percent of funding for special education programs. Similarly, the federal government has failed to provide adequate funding for the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001.

    June 16, 2003- Coalition (CORAS) Notes

    * 2003-04 CORAS membership notices have been mailed to all school districts and institutions of higher learning in the 29 Ohio Appalachian counties. This past school year CORAS recorded its highest membership ever with 131 school districts and institutions joining the Coalition. Growth in membership enables CORAS to provide a stronger "voice" for schoolchildren living in Ohio's Appalachian region. This year the goal is 135 members. Your continued membership is vital to maintaining the advocacy effort for rural Appalachia schoolchildren. JOIN THE COALITION OF RURAL AND APPALACHIAN SCHOOLS FOR THE 2003-04 SCHOOL NOW! Please let us know if you did not receive your 2003-04 membership notice. Send message to: or call Lori at (740) 593-4414 or (740) 593-4445. * It's not too late to register for the Thursday, June 19, 2003 CORAS meeting at EagleSticks Golf Club and Inn, Zanesville. The Buckeye Local Administrator Mentor Experience Program will be the featured presentation. Retiring school superintendents and others will be also recognized. The program is from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon with lunch included. The CORAS annual golf outing will follow the program. All tee times are filled.To register for the morning program contact Lori at (740) 593-4414 or (740) 593-4445. * A reminder that CORAS will post job vacancies for member schools on its web site. If your district has vacancies, and you want them posted on the web site, send the information to Dick Fisher at: * Mark your calandar. The first CORAS meeting for the 2003-04 school year will be Wednesday, September 10, 2003. The program will be "School Funding Update For FY 2003 and FY 2004" presented by BASA Excutive Director and school finance expert Dick Maxwell. On Tuesday, October 28, 2003, Battelle for Kids will present a program on "Understanding the Standards-Based Approach to Education," featuring "Life-Span: Preparing Children for a Journey of a Lifetime" Learning Maps. Meeting times and location will be announced later

    June 13, 2003- Today's News Briefs

    * The Ohio Department of Education is promoting a "performance index" that could help school districts climb a spot among the state’s five ratings: excellent, effective, continuous improvement, academic watch or academic emergency. The proposed index would give districts credit for how much students improve on tests, even if they’re not reaching proficient levels. The performance index is part of House Bill 3, designed to bring the accountability system in line with the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The bill passed the Ohio House on May 21 and the Senate is expected to vote on the bill later this month. ...Columbus Dispatch

    * State Senator Randy Gardner removed himself yesterday as sponsor of legislation that would implement the federal No Child Left Behind education law. Gardner, in a letter to the Senate President, said that the federal government’s "intrusive, overreaching mandates make any state implementation difficult to accept." ...Columbus Dispatch

    * A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Wednesday that claimed the U.S. Department of Education is discriminating against men with Title IX, the statute that requires gender equality in school-sponsored athletics. The lawsuit claimed colleges and universities were dropping men's sports and adding women's sports to stay in compliance with Title IX. ...Cincinnati Enquirer

    June 12, 2003- Legislators Say Education Tops Lists Of Priorities

    Nearly 40 percent of 771 state legislators polled from throughout the country put education at the top of their lists of priorities. The economy and jobs were most important to 34 percent of the lawmakers in the nationally representative survey. The survey was conducted by, an online news service financed by the Pew Center on the States, which commissioned the survey. Forty nine percent of the legislators polled said their state was moving ahead in public education, while only twenty nine percent believed things were getting worse. State legislators overwhelmingly expect at least two more years of dire budget problems. The study showed that most state senators and house members are reluctant to consider all but the least painful or least obvious revenue raising measures, such as higher “sin” taxes on tobacco and alcohol and increased fees, to address the crisis.

    To read survey summary, Click: State Lawmakers Expect Further Fiscal Problems, Survey Shows

    To read the survey in full, go to (must enter address):

    June 11, 2003- More Funding Cuts For Education?

    Governor Taft's most recent budget projections are expected to fall some $964 million short of prior estimates. The Toledo Blade reported that State Senator Randy Gardner said, "A significant majority of our members will not support $1 billion in spending cuts if it means massive cuts to primary, secondary, and higher education. Conversely, a significant majority says we should not solve that problem with more taxes. So, somewhere in between."

    June 10, 2003- Data To Show Business Tax Abatement Soared

    According to the Akron Beacon Journal, new data that the Ohio Department of Taxation will release in several weeks will show that business tax abatement soared an inflation-adjusted 370 percent since 1986, surpassing all types of nonprofit organizations and governments that don't pay property taxes.

    The ABJ said, "In 1986, 2.6 percent of all business real estate was exempt from taxes. The value of exemptions was far behind that of schools, charitable and religious organizations. Today, 10.4 percent -- $4.4 billion of all business property -- is tax-exempt, ranking it first among all forms of nontaxable property. If the exempt business property were taxed at the average school district rate, it would generate about $613 million for public education."

    Read ABJ article. Click: Tax burden shifts in Ohio

    The Associated Press, quoting data from the Columbus Dispatch, said, "Figures from the Ohio Department of Taxation show that the state tax bill for many middle-class families is higher than it is for most corporations."

    Read Columbus Dispatch article. Click: Ohio’s big businesses beating tax system

    June 9, 2003- State Teachers Retirement System Losses/Bonuses

    According to Sunday's Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Ohio State Teachers Retirement System lost 21 percent of its investment assets in the past three years, a total of $12.3 billion. The Plain Dealer article said, "Despite the losses, employees of the public pension fund got a total of $14 million in bonuses during the decline. In 2001 STRS handed out a total of $6.1 million in bonuses to 345 employees, according to STRS documents. One employee's base salary of $164,000 was bumped to $342,880. It was the same year the fund lost 5.66 percent of its assets, more than any of the four other public employee pension funds in Ohio, according to the Ohio Retirement Study Council, which oversees the funds."

    Read the Plain Dealer article. Click: Teacher pension losses don't stop spending

    June 6, 2003- ODE Playing With Idea Of Two Ratings

    The No Child Left Behind Act requires school districts to administer tests to special education students. The Ohio Department of Education plans to include those scores with the district wide results for each subject at each grade level when it determines a district’s passing percentage. ODE uses those indicators to calculate a district’s rating. According to the Toledo Blade, Assistant State Superintendent Mitchell Chester said state officials are "playing with the idea" of releasing results with and without the special education students’ results. Mr. Chester said the department would decide how and if to change the reporting during the next month.

    * Special Note: As the state budget goes to the joint House-Senate conference committee, House Speaker Larry Householder said "I think the (Taft) administration is going to have some shocking numbers. I think they're going to be bad." Senate President Doug White agreed. The Cincinnati Enquirer said, "That could mean more taxes or cuts to school, health and social service programs....."

    June 5, 2003- High School And College Success In Ohio

    Who Makes It Through High School In Ohio?

    Ohio's 8th Graders vs. Diplomas

    Number of Ohio 8th graders in 1995-96 school year.....................................................142,469

    Number of Ohio high school diplomas issued in the1999-2000 school year..........111,668

    Who Makes It Through College in Ohio?

    Ohio Top States

    High school freshmen enrolling in any U.S. college within 4 years

    1st year community college students returning their 2nd year56%63%
    Freshmen at 4 year college returning their sophomore year75%83%
    First-time full-time freshmen completing a BA in 6 years50%61%

    Top States: Median of top 5 performing states in year 2000

    Source: Education Watch 2003 State Summary Report, The Education Trust To View Education Watch State Summaries, Click: state summaries

    June 4, 2003- Today's News Briefs

    * Governor Taft's budget director, Tom Johnson, warned late yesterday that sagging income tax returns will leave the state $200 million short on cash in the four remaining weeks of the state fiscal year, which ends June 30.

    * High school students who earn at least a 3.0 grade-point average and pass a graduation test would qualify for a $5,000 college scholarship, if voters approve slot machines at Ohio's racetracks. Legislation introduced yesterday outlined, for the first time, who would qualify for the money, how much each student could receive and where the money would be spent. State Senator Eric Fingerhut, Democrat of Shaker Heights, is the main architect of the plan.

    * According to a study by Public Agenda, a nonpartisan policy research group, more than three in four teachers surveyed said they were "scapegoats for all the problems facing education." Wary of political favoritism and unfair claims by parents, teachers bank heavily on union support and on tenure policies that promise job security, the survey says.

    * Lawmakers are considering letting schools set their own schedules as long as children are in class a certain number of hours (910 school hours for elementary and 1,001 hours for high school) each year. A bill would give districts options such as lengthening the school day and having four-day weeks. The bill also does away with "calamity" days. Representative Thom Collier, Republican of Mount Vernon, introduced the bill yesterday.

    * The Senate budget retains Ohio's funding of schools based on average enrollment....and the Ohio House has proposed an average daily attendance method that would deduct $30 per day for each absent child, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. In addition, the ABJ said the budget increases vouchers from $2,500 to $3,000 in Cleveland.

    June 3, 2003- Recent Views And Comments

    "The Ohio Senate is working on a budget proposal that could raise nearly $2 billion in new taxes and other revenues in 2005 -- most of it from individuals -- while granting hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks for businesses over the next several years." ....Akron Beacon Journal, June 1, 2003

    "It makes little sense to spare schools from state spending cuts only to slash their revenues with tax breaks." .... Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 3, 2003

    "Senate Republicans can't help themselves. They've delivered goodies for business -- at the expense of public schools." ...Akron Beacon Journal, June 3, 2003

    "On Wednesday, all members of the Senate will cast their most important vote of this legislative session. In the time remaining, they owe it to their 11 million constituents to craft a budget that does not accelerate the already rapid decline of a once-great state." ....Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 2, 2003

    "In Ohio, registered lobbyists outnumber lawmakers more than 10 to one - 1,462 lobbyists to 131 lawmakers." ....Dayton Daily News, June 2, 2003

    June 2, 2003- Negative Impact On Schools

    The Lancaster Eagle Gazette reported today the Ohio Senate is proposing three tax changes that will have a negative impact on school districts. They are:

    * The Senate plan doubles the rate at which the personal tangible property tax will be eliminated. The tax was set to end in 25 years, but under the Senate plan will expire in just 12.

    * The Senate plan lowers the taxable value of manufacturing machinery and equipment purchased after 2003, reducing new tax money schools would have otherwise collected.

    * The Senate plan phases out the state reimbursement for the first $10,000 of tangible personal property over 10 years. This money was reimbursed to schools.

    The Ohio Senate is expected to vote on the budget proposal (Am. H.B. 95) either Thursday or Friday of this week.

    May 30, 2003- News Briefs From Washington

    * The U.S. Department of Education has assembled an eight-person, half-million-dollar team of political appointees to promote the "No Child Left Behind" Act of 2001. Education Week reports that some observers believe it's a political move to bolster images for the 2004 presidential election. Read more. Click: Ed. Dept. Invests $500,000 In Team to Tout Its Agenda

    * The U.S. Supreme Court agreed last week to consider whether states that provide scholarship aid for secular schooling may be constitutionally required to make such aid available for religious instruction. The court's decision to take up the case, in effect is a sequel to its ruling last year (Zelman v. Simmons-Harris) that the U.S. Constitution permits states to provide vouchers for religious school tuition. Read more. Click: Court Takes Case Seen as Voucher Sequel

    * A bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week would require states to prohibit educators from requiring that students be medicated to attend school. Under the measure, states that failed to adopt such policies could lose all federal education funds. Supporters of the bill claim it will protect parents' rights to choose freely whether they seek medication treatment for their children who have behavioral or other disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

    Source: Education Week, May 28, 2003

    May 29, 2003- Ohio Senate Budget Proposal

    According to the Associated Press, the Ohio Senate proposes to restore many primary and secondary education spending cuts approved by the Ohio House of Representatives. AP said the Senate version of the biennium budget includes:

    * Increases funding by more than $27.7 million in the first year and $218 million in the second year.

    * Maintains per student base costs of $5,088 and $5,230, respectively in the two years.

    * Removes a provision that would base funding on monthly attendance reports, replacing the current one-time head count in October that is averaged over three years.

    * Restores money for various professional development programs for educators, including reinstating $5.2 million for regional professional development centers in the first year.

    * Enhances funding for OhioReads by more than $8.5 million.

    The Senate is expected to vote on the budget Wednesday.

    May 28, 2003- Ohio Appalachian Schools "VITAL STATISTICS"

    Annually the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools compiles "Vital Statistics" for the 126 school districts in the 29 Ohio Appalachian counties. The "2002 Vital Statistics" include eleven categories for which data was available from the Ohio Department of Education. In addition, data from the Appalachian districts is compared to the state as a whole. Click Characteristics and Vital Statistics for Appalachian School Districts to view a summary of the CORAS report. Scroll down to view data from previous years. For a copy of the complete report , which includes data for each of the 126 Ohio Appalachian school districts, send request to

    May 27, 2003- Weekend News Articles

    * 'Value-added' analysis credits school districts for progress a student makes. Read article in Monday's Akron Beacon Journal. Click: Index measures `Johnny' * Monday's Akron Beacon Journal reported that when legislators passed House Bill 3 last week, they lowered standards to get federal money, but hold districts to higher state marks. The ABJ said, "That could be a problem." Read article. Click: Bill lowers standards to get federal money
    * Read Monday's Associated Press article. The article includes comments from Meigs Local Superintendent William Buckley. Click: PERSPECTIVE: New federal education law sparks debate over school control

    * "DeRolph isn't over" is the title of an editorial appearing in Sunday's Columbus Dispatch. The Dispatch, as usual, is far from accurate on many issues relating to the DeRolph litigation. However, the editorial got it right when pointing out the inequities of reliance on local property taxes to fund schools. The Dispatch said:

    "The Ohio Constitution requires the state to create an education system that is 'thorough and efficient.' Exactly what that means is open to interpretation, but clearly, such vast disparities between districts couldn't possibly meet the constitutional test. The court was correct to condemn the system that produced such outcomes."

    "But the cause of those inequities, the reliance on local property taxes, remains. School districts with little valuable taxable property simply cannot raise the kind of revenue that flows into the coffers of school districts blessed with tax-generating industrial and commercial properties."

    "Even if less-affluent school districts tax themselves harder, they cannot hope to make up the difference."

    "But until some way is found to reduce the property-tax inequities among districts, the school-funding system will remain unconstitutional."

    Read the editorial. Click: DeRolph isn't over

    May 23,2003- Parity Aid For Charter Schools

    The Associated Press reported today that proposed changes in the Ohio House approved FY 04-05 budget would shift at least $9 million in parity aid from local school districts to charter schools each year. Most CORAS member school districts are currently receiving parity aid. AP said Senate Republicans have concerns about moving more money out of traditional districts. The Senate version of the budget will be voted on in June. Let members of the Ohio Senate know your views on this issue! The Associated Press reported today that proposed changes in the Ohio House approved FY 04-05 budget would shift at least $9 million in parity aid from local school districts to charter schools each year. Most CORAS member school districts are currently receiving parity aid. AP said Senate Republicans have concerns about moving more money out of traditional districts. The Senate version of the budget will be voted on in June. Let members of the Ohio Senate know your views on this issue!

    The AP article reported that Ohio has about 34,000 charter school students and the state is projected to provide about $200 million dollars to charter schools this year.

    May 22, 2003- Ohio Appalachian Center Receives Award

    The Ohio Appalachian Center for Higher Education (OACHE), under the leadership of Executive Director Wayne White, was recognized for its efforts as one of five winners of an Innovations in American Government Award. The award is given by the Institute for Government Innovation at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, in cooperation with the Council for Excellence in Government, a Washington-based group that seeks to improve government performance and understanding of the public sector. OACHE received a $100,000 grant. The Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools congratulate Wayne White and OACHE for achieving this honor.

    May 21, 2003- Priority: Education or Tax Cut?

    "If money indicates priorities, the president believes No Child Left Behind is one-sixty-seventh as important as cutting taxes."

    -Policy analyst Ross Wiener, comparing the 2004 education budget with President Bush's proposed tax cut of $674 billion over 10 years. ...Teacher Magazine, May 2003

    May 20, 2003- "Defiance awarded"

    "Those who want an improved funding system, not to mention improved schools, should look at the obvious alternative: new faces in the state legislature." ....from an editorial in the Akron Beacon Journal, May 20, 2003 Read the editorial. Click: Defiance rewarded

    May 19, 2003- NCLB: Costs and Benefits

    An article in the Phi Delta Kappan by William J. Mathis, a superintendent and education finance professor in Vermont, says his findings suggest that states should consider the fiscal implications of the federal government's No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Mathis said some states might have to raise their education budgets by as much as 30 percent to comply with the requirements of the Act.

    Read Mathis' article: Click: "No Child Left Behind: Costs and Benefits,"

    May 16, 2003- Ohio Supreme Court Prohibits Trial Court Judge Oversight

    Today the Ohio Supreme Court prohibited trial court Judge Linton D. Lewis from overseeing legislative efforts to fix how the state finances public education in the DeRolph school-funding case. However, the Court said the state's system of funding public schools is still unconstitutional

    "The duty now lies with the General Assembly to remedy an educational system that has been found by the majority in DeRolph IV to still be unconstitutional," Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton wrote in the 5-2 decision. Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer and Justices Deborah L. Cook and Maureen O'Connor concurred in the judgment only. Justices Alice Robie Resnick and Francis E. Sweeney dissented without comment.

    Read the 12-page decision issued Friday afternoon, May 16, 2003. Click: Ohio Supreme Court Issues Writ of Prohibition Prohibiting Perry County Common Pleas Court Judge From Exercising Further Jurisdiction in DeRolph v. State.

    May 15, 2003- Highly Qualified Teacher

    This past Tuesday the State Board of Education defined a highly qualified teacher. The ODE board briefs said, "In general, a highly qualified teacher is defined as one who holds at least a bachelor’s degree and has full state certification through a Board-approved certificate or license (such as a professional teaching license for PreK-3 or 4-9 at the elementary level, or for K-12 or 7-12 at the middle and secondary level). The definition also has conditions for teachers who are new and not new to their particular fields and also for teachers who have an alternative educator license. Teachers who are not considered to be highly qualified include those who hold conditional permits or temporary licenses, and those teaching outside their field."

    May 14, 2003- "Highly Qualified" and Closing the Achievement Gap

    * According to the Columbus Dispatch, 11,000 of Ohio's 113,000 classroom teachers will fall short of the state's new designation of being "highly qualified." The standard was adopted yesterday by the State Board of Education. The Dispatch reported that Marilyn Troyer, state associate superintendent, said, "Among those likely to miss the mark will be about 9,000 teachers with certificates to teach any subject in kindergarten through eighth grade." Read the article. Click: State sets new standards for teachers

    * Ohio has done slightly better than the nation in closing the achievement gap, but the nation hasn't done very well, according to a national study of standardized test scores released yesterday by the Education Trust. To view a State by State summary of the study, Click: state summaries .

    May 13, 2003- "Taking attendance"

    Read today's editorial in the Akron Beacon Journal. Click: Taking attendance

    May 12, 2003- "Budget ax misses certain wallets"

    Read story in today's Akron Beacon Journal. Click: Budget ax misses certain wallets

    May 9, 2003- School Election Results

    There were 160 school issues on the May 6, 2003 primary ballot. Eighty-nine issues were successful, resulting in a 55.6% passage rate.
    View the May 6 election results on the Ohio Department of Education website. Click:
  • Results by District

  • 5-Year History

  • Last Five May Elections

  • Close Issues

  • JVS Results

  • Income Tax Results

  • May 8, 2003- In The News...

    * In a 4-2 ruling, the Ohio Supreme Court turned down a request by the Ohio Education Association to block the over $90 million in school-funding cuts ordered by Governor Taft in March. The court ruled without explanation. The OEA said the reductions exacerbated what has already been found to be an inadequately funded system. OEA President Gary Allen called the decision "another setback for public school funding. ...Associated Press, May 7, 2003

    * "Still to be resolved by the high court is the more important funding question: whether Perry County Common Pleas Judge Linton Lewis has the authority to enforce its 4-3 decision of Dec. 11 that school funding continues to be unconstitutional. Court spokesman Dennis Whelan said all the briefs have been filed and the justices have the case under consideration. In a docket entry, the justices gave Lewis authority to oversee enforcement of the 11-year-old 'DeRolph' case." ...Akron Beacon Journal, May 8, 2003

    * "The House-passed version of the two-year state budget cut money the Ohio Department of Education was planning to use to print and distribute booklets that outline standards for art, foreign language and technology. Those standards now will be available only online or on CD-ROM, said J.C. Benton, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education. That is, unless education officials convince lawmakers to put about $500,000 back into the budget to pay for printed versions." ...Gannett News Service, May 7, 2003

    May 7, 2003- "Setback for Special Ed?"

    An editorial in today's Toledo Blade raises questions about the proposed changes to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) passed last week by the U.S. House of Representatives. For example, one IDEA proposed change would allow schools to expel or suspend students with disabilities who break school rules. Those with disciplinary problems could also be placed in alternative settings. Currently, the law requires schools to investigate whether a student’s misbehavior is due to his disability. According to the editorial, the proposed change would allow for removal of a disabled student even if his behavior was a result of his disability.

    The Blade editorial reports that advocates for disabled children say that flies in the face of reason. "Should you punish a child for having a disability, or should you create an environment in which that child can learn?" asked Margaret Burley of the Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities. To read the editorial views on the proposed changes to IDEA, Click: Setback for special ed?

    May 6, 2003- School Principal Shortages

    Nationally, about half of all school districts report principal shortages, according to the National Association of Secondary School Principals. And nearly 40 percent of the more than 93,000 principals will be eligible for retirement by 2005, said a U.S. Department of Labor survey. Inadequate pay, dwindling resources and more pressure for accountability add up to a growing shortage of top administrators, according to a report in yesterday's Baltimore Sun. Read the article. Click: Demands Of Job Drive School Principals Away

    May 5, 2003- CORAS Meeting Set For 19th

    Hiring the right people and the fifteen policy recommendations by the Governor's Commission on Teaching Success were the topics of discussion at the April 29, 2003 CORAS meeting. Presenters were Shelly Pettit and Jane Evans, Evans and Associates, Zanesville and Dr. Katherine Canada, Project Director for the Governor's Commission. Fifty superintendents and others attended the program which was held at the Holiday Inn, Zanesville. Dr. Bonnie Beach, Dr. Larry Burgess, Dr. Edwina Campbell, Paul Folmer, and former State Senator Michael Shoemaker received 2003 Leadership & Service recognition certificates presented annually by the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools. The next CORAS meeting is set for Thursday, June 19, 2003 at EagleSticks Golf Club and Inn in Zanesville. The program will include a morning presentation on the Buckeye Local (Jefferson County) Administrator Mentoring Program. The annual CORAS summer golf outing will be held at the EagleSticks Golf Club in the afternoon. Registration materials will be mailed to CORAS members this week. Others may receive registration information by calling Lori at 740-593-4414.

    May 2, 2003- Closing The Achievement Gaps Report

    At its regular meeting in April, the State Board of Education received the report from the Closing the Achievement Gaps Task Force. The report presented 23 recommendations that addressed three goals: (1) Drive a focus toward high achievement for all students; (2) Ensure that educators are well prepared and supported; and (3) Adapt structures to the needs of the students served. The 27-member Closing the Achievement Gaps Task Force was created by the State Board of Education in September 2002. The task force held several meetings, including four at different locations around the state, to receive public input. Contact the Ohio Department of Education for the 25 page report, "Toward High Achievement for All Students: The Report of the Ohio State Board of Education's Closing Achievement Gaps Task Force." The report contains the 23 recommendations.

    May 1, 2003- Research: Beginning Teacher Hiring Practices

    This weeks edition of Education Week reports that "new research on beginning teachers suggests that more than a third are hired after the school year starts, and that most are jumping into jobs where they are expected to shoulder the same responsibilities as their more experienced colleagues." The findings, presented last week during the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, were conducted by Harvard University's graduate school of education.

    The findings suggest that the teachers were hired hastily and that the process typically relied heavily on reviews of the new hires' paper credentials.

    For example, the study showed that:

  • Thirty-three percent of the new teachers were hired after the start of the school year; 62 percent were hired within 30 days of the date they started the job.
  • While principals interviewed 88 percent of the newcomers, only half the teachers got an opportunity to interview with teachers at the school.
  • Only 7.5 percent of the teachers were observed teaching a sample lesson as part of the hiring process; 35 percent got a chance to observe classes.

    It was suggested that reasons why hiring procedures may not have been more extensive relate to constraints such as late-arriving budgets and union rules.

  • To read the study, Click: "New Teachers Experiences of Hiring: Preliminary Findings from a 4-state Study,"

    April 30, 2003- U.S. House To Vote Today On IDEA Renewal

    According to the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), the United States House of Representatives is slated to vote on HB 1350 (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act renewal) today (April 30, 2003). AASA says the legislation: * Changes in the process of disciplining students who break school rules making the program fairer and less cumbersome and adversarial; * Eliminates duplications in required notifications and reduces paperwork; * Requires attendance at IEP meetings only for needed personnel and then only for the time their input is required, which reduces cost and makes such meetings less cumbersome; * Asks parents to provide specific concerns and then provides 30 days for the school district to resolve those concerns. This step makes the program less adversarial, less costly and more oriented to meeting parent concerns; * Permits schools to use a small portion of their grant on prevention, which should eventually reduce the number of students in special education and will increase student achievement over time; * Requires that the regulations for IDEA match the words of the law. This will void over regulation and creation of new policy not included in the law; and * Permits governors to limit attorney's fees, which will reduce the cost of special education, assure that more funds are used to serve children, and discourage decisions made to avoid the high cost of litigation. AASA is on record supporting these changes and the bill. For a complete analysis of HR 1350, go to this website:

    April 30, 2003- Senate Might Scratch Monthly Attendance?

    The Dayton Daily News reported today that Senate President Doug White said the plan to tie state support for primary and secondary schools to monthly attendance might be scratched from the Senate version of the state budget. According to the Daily News, Senator White said the governor's planned blue-ribbon task force on school funding would be a "better venue than the budget bill to handle that." The Columbus Dispatch carried a similar story, but added that Senate President White said a lot depends on House Speaker Larry Householder and "the House commitment to it.''

    April 29, 2003- May 6 School Ballot Issues

    According to the Ohio Department of Education, there are 162 school issues on the May 6, 2003 primary election ballot: 139 school districts have single issues on the ballot; 10 districts have two issues on the ballot and one district has three issues on the ballot. For a list of districts with ballot issues, Click: Preview by District

    April 28, 2003- Some Notable Weekend Quotes

    "State Senator Jay Hottinger, R-Newark, stood firm that it's time to reign in state spending on education, which he notes has more than tripled over then last decade." Senator Hottinger said, "Clearly, now is the time to tell education, I'm sorry, we cannot give more money in these economic times." ...Zanesville Times Recorder, April 27, 2003

    State Senator Jim Carnes, R-St. Clairsville, was asked if he agrees with the Ohio House of Representatives cut of $480 million from Governor Taft's budget in primary and secondary education, mainly through a change in how the state counts students. After expressing diagreement with the cuts, Senator Carnes said, "I also think the cuts go contrary to court decisions that we have. So I'm not saying I won't vote for the budget if they're in, but I don't support them." ...Zanesville Times Recorder, April 28, 2003

    Dr. John Augenblick, the national expert who helped Ohio define the cost of an adequate education, says a plan to fund schools based on average monthly attendance threatens to underfund schools. Dr. Augenblick said, "It's not in the spirit of all the work done years ago. If the state decides to use attendance averages to distribute aid, then the cost of an adequate education will have to be studied and redefined using average attendance rather than total enrollment." ...Akron Beacon Journal, April 27, 2003.

    April 25, 2003- "opt-in" or "opt-out"

    The "No Child Left Behind" Act of 2001 requires "local education agencies" receiving money under the law to provide military recruiters with access to students' names, addresses, and telephone numbers. Schools and districts that refuse to comply risk losing federal aid. The law allows students or their parents to withhold personal information from the military. The law says schools "shall notify parents of the option" to make such a request, which is referred to as an "opt-out."

    Two school districts in California have reversed that policy by requiring that parents and students "opt-in" if they want the personal information released to the military. Otherwise, the military won't get those listings. The U.S. Department of Education is studying whether the opt-in policies violate the law, but hasn't yet taken a position.

    Read the article in the most recent issue of Education Week. Click below:

    Meet Pockets
    Of Resistance

  • April 24, 2003- School Vouchers: No Notable Academic Gain

    An evaluation conducted by the Indiana Center for Evaluation, Indiana University, of a group of students participating in the Cleveland voucher program has concluded that it had no significant effect on their academic achievement.

    The report looks at students who entered 1st grade in 1998 and finished 3rd grade in 2001. It compares pupils who used vouchers to attend private schools and those who remained in public schools.

    According to the report, the public school students started out behind the voucher students, but those academic differences no longer existed by the end of 1st grade, and both groups made nearly equal progress during the next two years.

    Read the report. Click: Indiana Center for Evaluation. (Requires free registration and Adobe's Acrobat Reader.)

    April 23, 2003- Too Much Emphasis On Test Scores?

    Ill-mannered pupils, demoralized teachers, uninvolved parents and bureaucracy in public schools are greater worries for Americans than the standards and accountability that occupy policy makers, a new study being released today by Public Agenda, a research and policy organization, says. According to the report: *Only 9 percent of surveyed Americans said the students they see in public are respectful toward adults. * High school students were asked about the frequency of serious fights in schools, and 40 percent said they occurred once a month or more; 56 percent said they hardly ever happened; 4 percent had no opinion. * Only 15 percent of teachers said teacher morale is good in their high school. * Teachers said their views are generally ignored by decision-makers, with 70 percent feeling left out of the loop in their district's decision-making process.

    * 73 percent of employers and 81 percent of professors said public school graduates have fair or poor writing skills.

    * Teachers said lack of parental involvement is a serious problem, with 78 percent of teachers saying too many parents don't know what's going on with their child's education.

    * Only 19 percent said parental involvement is strong in their high school.

    * Respondents generally said schools place too much emphasis on standardized test scores, with 60 percent of parents, 84 percent of teachers, 52 percent of employers, 57 percent of professors and 45 percent of students agreeing. Source: Associated Press

    April 22, 2003- In Today's News...

    * Are lawmakers trying to trick voters into saying yes to video slot machines?" the Cincinnati Enquirer asked today. Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio’s top elections officer, Monday called on the Senate to correct what he called "deceptive and misleading" ballot language concerning a proposal to put video lottery terminals at Ohio’s seven racetracks. The Ohio House of Representatives has designed a November ballot question requiring a "yes" vote to oppose slot machines and a "no" vote to support them. * Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Patrick McGrath ruled yesterday that charter schools do not violate the state's constitutional guarantee to a "thorough and efficient" system of common schools. His ruling left open other issues, including the legality of some online charter school contracts and whether some private schools were illegally converted to charter schools. The lawsuit was the 13th challenge to state charter school laws in the nation. In the 12 earlier cases, the courts have declared charter laws constitutional. * The following article from Associated Press may be of interest. Click: Cuts in education spending send people to the streets > * "Subtraction by addition: The Ohio House defies explanation -- once again," is the headline for an editorial in today's Akron Beacon Journal. The opening line said, "At times, the thinking of the Ohio House of Representatives has been hard to follow in the era of Speaker Larry Householder." > Read the editorial. Click: Subtraction by addition

    April 21, 2003- Fewer Principal Applicants For Poor Schools

    "Despite worries about a scarcity of school leaders, the country has a more than ample supply of principals," according to a new report from the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington in Seattle . "Despite worries about a scarcity of school leaders, the country has a more than ample supply of principals," according to a new report from the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington in Seattle .

    The report said, "Rather than a general dearth of administrators, the real challenge facing the nation is getting the right leaders to the right schools. Districts tend to draw far fewer applicants for vacancies at schools serving the most needy populations. And many of those applying for principalships appear to lack the some of the key skills that district leaders now view as important."

    Read the full report, Click: "A Matter of Definition: Is There Truly a Shortage of School Principals?," or Click: executive summary , to read the executive summary.

    Source: Education Week, April 16, 2003

    April 11, 2003- CORAS Meeting, April 29th

    The Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools (CORAS) will meet on Tuesday, April 29, 2003 at the Holiday Inn in Zanesville. CORAS President John Simmons will introduce the 2003 leadership and service recipients. The program will open with a timely presentation on "Recruiting, Hiring and Retaining the Right People." Presenters will be Shelly Pettit and Jane Evans, Human Resource Management Consultants from Evans & Associates, Zanesville. Special guest presenter will be Dr. Katherine Canada, Project Director, Governor's Commission on Teaching Success. Dr. Canada's topic will be "Achieving More. Quality Teaching, School Leadership, Student Success." The discussion will focus on the Commission's 15 policy recommendations. To register for the program contact Lori at (740) 593-4414 or by email at: There is a $15.00 registration fee.

    April 10, 2003- Poll: Ohioans Prefer Small High Schools

    The third annual "Ohio's Education Matters" poll, conducted by the KnowledgeWorks Foundation found that more than 75 percent of respondents prefer high schools with fewer than 400 students over those with more than 1,000 students. In addition, the poll found that 71 percent of respondents believe residents should take part in the planning for new and renovated school facilities. Of those polled, 60 percent believe Ohio's schools are headed in the right direction, though 72 percent believe schools can't improve unless residents get involved. To read "Ohio's Education Matters" click: Ohio's Education Matters: 2002-2003

    April 9, 2003- House To Vote On Budget Proposal

    The Ohio House of Representatives is scheduled to vote today on the FY 04-05 budget. According to media reports, House Finance Committee recommendations relating to primary and secondary education includes:

    * Eliminating ''calamity days'' for closing schools because of weather or natural disasters and eliminating the makeup day requirement. Instead, sets the minimum school year at 910 hours for grades 1-8 and 1,001 hours for grades 9-12. * Restoring SchoolNet as an independent agency to provide classroom computers. The governor proposed eliminating it in mid-2004.

    * Requiring the state to fund schools based on districts' monthly attendance figures, rather than a one-time head count each October, buts delays implementation until 2004-05 school-year.

    * Increasing funding for school breakfast programs from $3.3 million to $3.8 million.

    The Akron Beacon Journal said, "Many school districts would receive little or no new funding in the next two years, according to a table circulating in the House." The ABJ went on to say, "One in three school districts would not receive an increase in state aid for inflation in the first year of the House plan. In the second year, 537 of Ohio's 612 districts would not receive such an increase, according to the table."

    Read the ABJ article. Click: Budget may cost schools a bundle

    April 8, 2003- In The News...

    "Larry Householder, the House Speaker who proposed a $3 billion increase in school spending during the House's last budget deliberations, has said he now wants to find the same amount in overall cuts." ...Akron Beacon Journal editorial, April 6, 2003 Read the editorial. Click: Budget gimmicks

    The Ohio Department of Education is preparing a list of schools they judge to be so dangerous that students now assigned to them will be able to escape to a safer school next fall. ODE officials say the list of schools labeled "persistently dangerous" will be completed in July 2003. Parents then will be notified that they can send their child to a "safe" school when classes resume. The "list" is required by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. ...Cleveland Plain Dealer, April 8, 2003

    The Coalition for Public Education, a statewide organization that includes public school boards of education and teacher unions, criticized the Ohio Department of Education for not ranking charter schools as it does public school districts. The coalition performed its own analysis and concluded that only four of 41 charter schools would have ranked higher than academic emergency, the lowest of five categories. ...Toledo Blade, April 8, 2003.

    "In a startling development, the majority Republicans apparently watered down a plan that would have saved $600 million by penalizing school districts with poor attendance. The latest version would save only $170 million, one source reported." ...Columbus Dispatch, April 8, 2003 Read the article. Click: Higher Education: OSU wins renewal of state funding

    April 7, 2003- House Finance Committee Education Budget Proposals

    An Associated Press report compared the House budget bill, being work on by the House Finance Committee, with Governor Taft's budget proposal. According to AP, some of the primary and secondary education issues being considered are:

    * Eliminate a requirement that the state school board require 25-to-1 pupil-to-teacher ratios in classes providing services to bilingual multicultural students.

    * Allow educational service centers to sponsor charter schools in any "challenged" school district, rather than only in such a district in a county within the territory of the service center.

    * Provide specific allocations for school funding, including parity aid, in the second-year of the budget, rather than waiting for recommendations from Taft's Blue Ribbon Task Force.

    * Base funding for schools on actual student head counts instead of average attendance over three years, to ensure the state isn't paying districts for "phantom students."

    * Eliminate funding for professional development centers for teachers.

    * Commit $500,000 in each fiscal year for abstinence-only education.

    Source: Legislative Service Commission

    According to reports, the Speaker wants the finance committee to approve a bill by Tuesday so the full House can vote on it and send it to the Senate on Wednesday.

    Read the article. Click: A look at the House's version of the state budget

    April 4, 2003- News Briefs

    * An editorial in today's Akron Beacon Journal said the Ohio Supreme Court decision that denied the state's request to block the hearings leaves an avenue for Perry County Common Pleas Court Judge Linton D. Lewis to hold the legislature's feet to the fire and pursue compliance. The editorial pointed out that it is by no means unusual for trial courts to oversee compliance with their judgments. Read the editorial. Click: DeRolph V? * The Cincinnati Enquirer shed a bit more light on House Republicans proposal to base funding for schools on actual student head counts. The Enquirer said the proposed plan would count only one year, and pupil figures could change during the year as average daily attendance is computed from month to month. If enrollment drops, schools can lose up to 5 percent of state funding. They can also pick up state money if attendance goes up. * An Associated Press report said a U.S. Education Department task force will review the problems facing rural schools as they try to meet new requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act. U.S. Education Department officials plan to meet with school administrators from rural states in May 2003 to hear their concerns.

    April 3, 2003- Court Ruling/Statehouse Rally

    * On Wednesday, the Ohio Supreme Court unanimously denied a request by Attorney General Jim Petro to keep Perry County Common Pleas Judge Linton D. Lewis from holding new hearings in the DeRolph school-funding case. The Court did not rule on whether Judge Lewis has jurisdiction over in the matter. However, Justices did agree to consider arguments to determine if the Perry County Court has jurisdiction.

    * About 2,000 school employees, parents and students from Ohio's eight urban school districts marched in front of the Statehouse yesterday, demanding more state money for education. According to the Columbus Dispatch, the teachers' rally may have backfired. State Representative Jamie Callendar said after a Republican caucus that members decided to cut even more from Governor Taft's recommended budget for primary and secondary schools. The Dispatch reported that Representative Callendar said, "That was not a good way to get their point across. Taking those kids out of school and bringing buses here. They could have made a class project out of a letter-writing campaign.''

    April 2, 2003- In The News...

    "If budget cuts do need to be made as far as education is concerned, I would suggest beginning with the bureaucracy in Columbus at the Ohio Department of Education." ....House Speaker Larry Householder, Perry County Tribune, March 26, 2003 "Libraries, villages, cities and other local governments would lose $1.4 billion over the next two years, more than half their state funding, under a proposal by House Speaker Larry Householder." ....Associated Press, Akron Beacon Journal, April 2, 2003 "The modest increases in my budget are threatened and jeopardized by what the House is currently going through. School officials need to be very aggressive in advocating for the needs of children and schools." ....Governor Bob Taft, Toledo Blade, April 2, 2003 "More than 3,800 people have been put on the state's payroll or promoted to higher-paying jobs in the past eight months - even as Gov. Bob Taft has cut funding to schools and colleges and proposed wide-ranging tax increases, an Enquirer analysis has found." ....Cincinnati Enquirer, March 30, 2003

    April 1, 2003- Change Attendance Formula To Cut State Funding

    The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported today that House Republicans may "toughen standards for how school districts establish daily attendance, a determining factor in how much each district receives from the state." According to the Plain Dealer, Representative Jon Husted, who chairs the budget subcommittee on primary and secondary education, said millions of dollars could be saved by creating an attendance formula that properly reflects district enrollments.

    Husted said, "We're going to try to create financial incentives to get children in school. Right now we pay for phantom students' because we allow school districts to use a three-year average attendance rate, which helps them if their enrollment is falling."

    March 31, 2003- Will Speaker Walk The Talk?

    In his weekly newspaper column, Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder told his Perry County constituency, "We simply can't balance the state budget on the backs of Ohio schoolchildren." Over the weekend two major Ohio newspapers reported that Ohio House Republicans are considering major cuts in funding to primary and secondary education to balance the state budget beginning July 1, 2003. "House Republicans seeking $3 billion in additional cuts to Gov. Bob Taft's already stark $49.2 billion state budget proposal have closed their doors this weekend and rolled up their sleeves. Cuts are likely to hit the state's most expensive programs hardest: primary and secondary education, Medicaid, higher education and prisons." ....Cleveland Plain Dealer, March 29, 2003 "More than $1 billion could be wacked from education.....Ohio House Republicans are attempting to shrink Gov. Bob Taft's proposed $49.2 billion budget by $3 billion and come up with $1 billion in additional revenues to balance it. Taking the biggest hits in the cut-a-thon, which will blossom next week, would be primary and secondary education, $1.2 billion; human services, $900 million; and higher education, as much as $400 million." ....Columbus Dispatch, March 28, 2003 "Today we again face a challenging budget cycle for the state of Ohio, and tough decisions need to be made. I cringe when I hear that cuts should be made to classroom funding - dollars that go directly to the education of our own children. How can we afford to shortchange our future? The answer is we can't. There may be many ways to balance the state budget, including cutting spending. But we simply can't balance the state budget on the backs of Ohio schoolchildren." .... Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, Perry County Tribune, March 26, 2003 The unanswered question is: Will Speaker Householder walk the talk?

    March 28, 2003- Teacher Retention, Not Teacher Shortage

    A January report by the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (NCTAF) says the United States does not actually have a shortage of new teachers. The real problem, NCTAF says, is teacher retention. Read the full report or the summary report. Click: Download a 1.4 meg PDF file of the Full Report

    Download a PDF file of the Summary Report National Commission on Teaching and America's Future website:

    March 27, 2003- Calamity Days, Senate Bill 12

    Associated Press said today, "Districts that canceled more than 10 days of school because of winter storms could use extra hours in the school day to make up the lost time without adding more days to the school calendar, under a bill on its way to Gov. Bob Taft. House and Senate lawmakers approved a plan to let districts count hours that students spend in the classroom above state minimum requirements toward make-up days. They would begin counting hours from March 1."

    Sections 3, 4 and 5 of Senate Bill 12 follows:

    Section 3. A school district or nonpublic school shall not be considered to have failed to comply with division (B) of section 3317.01 of the Revised Code or the state minimum standards during the 2002-2003 school year because a school was closed due to hazardous weather conditions for a number of days exceeding the number permitted under sections 3313.48, 3313.481, and 3317.01 of the Revised Code, if both of the following apply:
    (A) In the case of a school district, the district makes up the number of days specified in its contingency plan adopted under division (A) of section 3313.482 of the Revised Code in accordance with that plan or, in the case of a nonpublic school, the school makes up the number of days specified in any contingency plan adopted by the school's governing authority in accordance with that plan;
    (B) During the period beginning on March 1, 2003, the school was open for instruction for more hours than the required number of hours on a sufficient number of days to make up all remaining days a school was closed in excess of the number permitted by sections 3313.48, 3313.481, and 3317.01 of the Revised Code due to hazardous weather conditions.
    As used in this section, the "required number of hours" for any school district is five hours per day in the case of students in grades one through six and five and one-half hours per day in the case of students in grades seven through twelve, and for any nonpublic school is five hours per day for students in grades one through twelve. A public school or school district shall be deemed to have "made up" a day under division (B) of this section for each additional five hours its students in grades one through six are in attendance after March 1, 2003, and for each additional five and one-half hours its students in grades seven through twelve are in attendance after March 1, 2003. A nonpublic school shall be deemed to have "made up" a day under division (B) of this section for each additional five hours its students in grades one through twelve are in attendance after March 1, 2003.
    Section 4. Section 3314.02 of the Revised Code as amended by this act takes effect on the later of April 8, 2003, or the effective date of this act.
    Section 5. This act is hereby declared to be an emergency measure necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety. The reason for such necessity lies in the fact that immediate action is necessary to provide school districts and nonpublic schools an alternative way to make up days missed in the current school year due to hazardous weather conditions in excess of the number permitted by law. Therefore, this act shall go into immediate effect.

    March 27, 2003- Needs Help Raising Taxes

    Associated Press is reporting that Governor Taft told educators Wednesday he needs their help raising taxes if he is to provide more school funding. AP said, "Taft met with administrators, school board officials and school treasurers to sell his $2.3 billion tax plan. That proposal and a proposed 7 percent increase in school funding are part of his $49 billion two-year budget that begins July 1, 2003." According to the report, the Governor said we're not going to get an increase unless they support the additional resources. How times change! Not long ago, in a meeting to discuss the DeRolph remedy, the Governor said, "Everything is on the table except new taxes." Raising taxes will be necessary to solve school-funding problem. But be wary!

    March 26, 2003- Children's Internet Use

    The results of the study, "Connected to the Future: A Report on Children's Internet Use," shows that 65 percent of American children between ages 2 and 17 now use the Internet. This represents a 59 percent growth rate since 2000, when 41 percent of children went online. The study included Internet use from home, schools, libraries and other locations. In addition, 55 percent of households rated as low-income now have online access, whether at home or elsewhere.

    To read the study Click: "Connected to the Future: A Report on Children's Internet Use"

    March 25, 2003- Senate Bill 46

    CORAS has had several inquiries concerning Senate Bill 46. The bill, sponsored by Democrat Senators Dann, Miller, Fedor and Herington, was introduced on March 6, 2003. Senate Bill 46 would void any reductions in moneys distributed to school districts for elementary and secondary education that are ordered by the Governor in the fiscal year that ends June 30, 2003, and to declare an emergency. The text of the bill, assigned to the Senate finance committee, follows:
    Section 1. The executive order issued by the Governor on March 5, 2003, to the extent that it reduces the amount of moneys distributed to school districts for elementary and secondary education, and any other executive order issued by the Governor in fiscal year 2003 to the extent that it reduces the amount of such moneys, shall be void and such reductions shall not be implemented.
    Section 2. This act is hereby declared to be an emergency measure necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety. The reason for such necessity is that immediate action is required to ensure that vital funding of elementary and secondary education is not interrupted. Therefore, this act shall go into immediate effect.

    March 24, 2003- Rural Schools

    * Nearly one in three of America's school-age children attend public schools in rural areas or small towns of less than 25,000. * One in six, or nearly 17 percent, of America's children attend school in the very smallest communities, those with populations under 2,500. * Forty-three percent of the nation's public schools are in rural communities or small towns of fewer that 25,000 people and 31 percent of the nation's children attend these schools. Source: Rural Policy Matters, "Why Rural Matters Again!", February 2003 Click below to read the new report, Why Rural Matters 2003: The Continuing Need for Every State to Take Action on Rural Education. Please click here to download the full report (1.7mb). Click Here to download the report summary (148kb).

    March 21, 2003- Connecting Research To Schools' Needs

    Debra Viadero, writing in Education Week, said chances are few teachers or principals will ever use a scholarly study for guidance. Why not? "One of the big problems in educational research is that people haven't understood the need to take research one step further and translate it to usable knowledge," said Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, the dean of Harvard University's graduate school of education. "Medicine has for a while had something called 'translational knowledge,' and that's what we need to do in education." ...Education Week, March 19, 2003 Read the article in the most recent issue of Education Week. Click below: Scholars Aim to Connect Studies To Schools' Needs

    March 20, 2003- Meeting On Poverty and School-Funding Reform

    Fifty-five superintendents and other educators attended the March 11 and 12, 2003 CORAS programs at Marietta and Jackson. The program included a CBS 60 Minutes II video segment with Scott Pelley on hunger in southeast Ohio. Following the the video, a presentation focusing on the Effects of Poverty on Schoolchildren was presented by Joyce Holzapfel, Supervisor, Washington County ESC. William L. Phillis concluded the program by discussing and updating participants on the school-funding reform effort in Ohio. The next CORAS meeting is set for Tuesday, April 29, 2003 at the Zanesville Holiday Inn. The program will feature a presentation on Hiring, Selecting and Retaining the Right People. In addition, Katherine Canada, Project Director for the Governor's Commission on Teaching Success will discuss the commission's 15 policy recommendations. Registration materials will be mailed to CORAS members the first week of April.

    March 20, 2003- Special Education May Get Overhaul

    Yesterday, Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced an update to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that promises better identification and intervention. According to a CNN report, under the House proposal children in special education would face earlier help, tougher academic standards and overhauled screening to determine if they are truly disabled. The report said the bill focuses on early help for students and better identification of true disability. It would also eliminate the use of an IQ test. The proposal would shrink paperwork and the frequency of student reporting for teachers, chores that drive many teachers out of special education. In addition, there are provisions for greater accountability. A spokesperson for the National Education Association said, "Most children with disabilities spend much of their time in a typical classroom, and the bill recognizes the importance of training all teachers." However, CNN said special education advocates were unimpressed by promised increases in federal money and wary of offering support until firm details emerge.

    March 19, 2003- Students Rally At Statehouse

    "Students have good reason to rally at the Statehouse. They want to hold legislators accountable." ...Akron Beacon Journal editorial, March 19, 2003 Read the editorial. Click: Give 'em hell

    March 18, 2003- In Today's News...

    * The Ohio Education Association and parents with children in public schools filed suit in the Ohio Supreme Court late yesterday asking the Court to stop education cuts directed by Governor Taft. According to media reports, the plaintiffs are from Columbus, Warren and Girard. * About 40 school districts, led by Parma City Schools, are considering filing their own court action asking the court to block Taft's reductions in aid to schools. * The Associated Press said today that school districts around Ohio are opening online charter schools to recapture students lost to independent operations. AP reported that six of the state's 10 online charter schools are sponsored by public school systems and that online schools enroll about 20 percent of the approximately 28,000 charter school students.

    March 17, 2003- Weekend News Briefs

    * The Sunday Cincinnati Enquirer reported that last fall the Ohio Department of Education hired Pierce Communications, Inc., of Columbus, at a cost of $1.2 million, to develop a statewide "outreach" and "awareness" plan to explain the state's new set of education expectations. According to the report, the proposal calls for television, radio and newspaper spots, brochures, parent guides and a Web site to apply the material the state expects students to know to situations they encounter daily outside the classroom. The Enquirer said, "state school board members, lawmakers and education groups questioned whether the education department should be launching a million-dollar publicity blitz during a state budget crunch that has led to school funding being cut for the first time in years."

    * At last weeks State Board of Education meeting, the Board voted 16-0 to adopt a resolution supporting the 15 broad policy recommendation statements that were presented in the final report of the Governor’s Commission on Teaching Success.

    * Tomorrow (March 18), students, parents and others from around Ohio will hold a rally for education on the Statehouse lawn in Columbus. Tuesday's rally is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Read the Akron Beacon Journal article. Click: Local students to rally Tuesday in Columbus

    March 14, 2003- Doing What's Right, "Sometimes"

    On Wednesday of this week the Ohio House of Representatives voted to phase in a gasoline tax increase of 6 cents per gallon. Yesterday's Akron Beacon Journal reported that House Speaker Larry Householder said, "When there is a need out there, as there is for infrastructure in this state, you can't disregard that." The Speaker went on to say, "We thought it was necessary for us to put new revenue into the system. Sometimes you just have to do what's right." Perhaps this explains why the General Assembly has failed to fix Ohio's unconstitutional school-funding system. Legislators do what's right just "sometimes."

    March 13, 2003- "...and quit passing the buck to local property owners?"

    "Thus, the question surfaces yet again: Will the legislature take up the challenge of leadership -- identify the educational problems of statewide concern, raise the money to address them and quit passing the buck to local property owners?"