This summer, legislators in Columbus enacted reforms necessary for Cleveland to implement its education reform plan. The bill allowed the district to implement a performance-based pay scheme, which closely mirrored language in the controversial SB5 collective bargaining law voters rejected in 2011. It further enabled locally-raised levy dollars to flow to charter schools, a first-of-its-kind measure in the state. It was part of an overall package of reform that contained some elements that, in our analysis, Innovation Ohio has welcomed, such as universal preschool and early childhood academies.
The plan is in stark contrast to what’s been happening in the district. Having been forced to reduce spending by $114 million, the district eliminated 565 teachers and staff in the past year and cut salaries for those who remained. Much of these cuts were necessary after Governor Kasich enacted a state budget that reduced funding for the district by $85 million. For his part, Kasich — who, in 2011, urged voters across the state to reject school levies – has expressed support for plans to place a levy on the ballot this November. But other than words of support, Governor Kasich and state lawmakers have not contributed any new funding to ensure the district’s plans are a success, even while a half billion dollars accumulates in the state’s Rainy Day Fund. [Read more…]