Many of us have benefited from a quality K-12 public school system. Family belief in public schools supported by local communities and the state resulted in the most prosperous country in the world.
Gov. John Kasich’s budget is a direct attack on public education.
First, the budget provides additional funding to the nonpublic schools that are held to minimal standards in testing and learning.
For Manchester Local Schools, the state per-pupil funding is $3,314, compared to $7,209 for community schools. For Summit County, overall state funding for community schools in fiscal year 2012 is 457 percent greater than for resident schools, providing an average of $4,452 more per pupil.
The governor’s proposal would give charter schools $35 million more, or a 4.5 percent increase, while Manchester would receive no increase.
Second, although the governor’s budget proposal appears to maintain the current Manchester funding, an analysis of state aid and tangible tax funding for fiscal years 2011, 2012 and 2013 shows a drastic reduction. For 2011, funding was at $5.4 million; for 2012, $4.9 million; and for this year, $4.9 million. The governor is maintaining a state reduction of $473,699 in his new budget.
Third, this same budget provides guarantee funds of $362,908 in the biennium. The governor stated to superintendents at a Jan. 31 meeting that we should prepare for the elimination of these guarantee funds. This amounts to an approximately 2.02-mill reduction for Manchester.
Fourth, the budget reduces the per pupil expenditure from Gov. Taft’s $5,732 per pupil to $5,000 per pupil.
What’s more, there is no funding for bus replacements, inadequate funding for special needs children and continued neglect of communities with low property wealth. That causes public school advocates to believe that the intent is to provide more funding for private schools while reducing learning opportunities for public school children.
As legislators review the governor’s “Achievement Everywhere” program, we hope that consideration will be given to communities like Manchester. It has proved its commitment to the young through the passage of property taxes, but is being penalized for living in a property poor area.
More important, the economy will not wait another 20 years for Ohio to provide equitable education for all students. As legislators require curriculum, testing and technology for public schools, it is time for their support of these new initiatives.
At this point, the state government’s response to the Manchester community’s support of schools and students’ academic excellence is a $473,699 reduction of funds this school year with no additional support for the next two years.
We ask our representatives to adjust the governor’s budget to provide equity for all of Ohio’s children.
David L. Osborne
Manchester Local Schools
The March 29 letter headlined “Foundation of marriage” was well written. The writer is right that we are not our own. We are all accountable to God.
Every Christian should be very concerned about the moral decay of America, and we should focus our hearts on pleasing God and not being politically correct.
Mary A. Conti
Francis and the work of Jesus
Thank you for the March 15 editorial, “First impression,” about the Roman Catholic Church’s newly elected Pope Francis. The editorial was a nice assessment of Pope Francis and first impressions of him as pope. The editorial’s statement, “What he seems to grasp is that there are avenues for bringing new energy to the church without compromising doctrine,” seems to be very accurate.
The editorial also stated that many church members “do not feel inspired, or fulfilled, let alone go to Mass,” with the implication that church leaders bear responsibility.
Let’s also put that responsibility on church members and whether they choose to follow doctrinal truths.
Jesus said (John 8:31-32), “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Various reports (“Pope’s foot-washing of 2 girls signals new shift for papacy,” March 30) cite observers who seek to categorize the pope and the first weeks of his papacy in comparison to previous popes.
Pope Francis, without compromising on Catholic doctrine, has shown a stellar example of how we are to follow Jesus. Each pope brings unique charisma and talents to the papacy.
Pope Benedict focused much-needed effort on promoting and defending doctrine. Under his watch, the Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church was introduced.
Yet recent news reports contrast Pope Benedict’s wearing of traditional papal clothing immediately following his election to Pope Francis’ choice of more simplified clothing. From this are drawn conclusions about papal effectiveness.
But these popes are not greater or lesser for the clothing they chose. Rather, Pope Francis with his unique charisma is also fulfilling the work of Jesus, who said (John 13:34), “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Punishing the taxpayer
The national park closed 10 toilets to save cash (“Look out if nature is calling,” March 30). It would appear that the management of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park has stolen the playbooks of Washington, D.C., bureaucrats and some of our local school district boards of education. In our nation’s capital, tours of the White House are suspended and the Cleveland Air Show is canceled in an attempt to punish taxpayers for the federal budget sequester.
When local voters vote against a school levy, the first cuts made are always busing and sports. Never are waste, excess spending or ridiculous publicly funded pensions the first cuts to be implemented.
Now, the park will not hire a seasonal worker to clean 10 restrooms, closing them instead. If the park feels the best budget option is to reduce personnel, I have a suggestion. Why not rehire the part-time seasonal worker, reopen the restrooms and lay off the spokesperson who was interviewed for the story.
No, we must punish the taxpayer. I wonder: How many spokespersons does the park have on its payroll?
Love, compassion and commitment
I agree with the March 29 letter headlined “Foundation of marriage.” With regard to those who seek same-sex marriage, “What’s right is the issue.” In this case, “what’s right” is that two loving, committed people should have the right to marry one another, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual.
We’re not talking about marrying your relative or your family pet — examples that some conservatives love to throw out, but which are totally unrelated to the issue.
I applaud U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s recent support of same-sex marriage. In his op-ed piece in the Columbus Dispatch on March 15, Portman made some excellent points, including the fact that same-sex marriage does not pose a “threat” to heterosexual marriage. Rather, it is a “tribute” to marriage in that everyone should be encouraged to make long-term, lasting commitments to one another, build families and communities and promote personal responsibility.
Same-sex marriage, like heterosexual marriage, helps strengthen the institution by promoting long-term commitment.
During the past 10 years, nine states and the District of Columbia have legally endorsed same-sex marriage. This has not undermined “traditional” marriage in any way. In fact, within the past decade, the national divorce rate has declined.
The biblical argument against homosexuality is arcane and flawed. Most educated people are aware of the passages in the book of Leviticus that state that it is an “abomination” for a man to lie with a male as he does with a woman.
Other acts noted as “abominations” include (but are not limited to) sowing your fields with two kinds of seeds, wearing a garment made of two kinds of fabric, marring the edges of your beard or rounding off the hair on your temples, eating any animal flesh with the blood in it, marrying a divorced woman or one who has been “defiled.”
If biblical references are to be considered, then the New Testament message of Jesus to “love one another” as the ultimate goal outweighs all else. The Bible’s themes of love and compassion are most important.
If homosexual union is against God, and God is the creator of nature, then why do we see countless examples of homosexual behavior in the animal kingdom?
I also agree that “we are all accountable to God.” I am one who is accountable to God. I simply ask that humankind be accountable to me and legally allow two people who love each other to honor that commitment through marriage, whether heterosexual or homosexual.