Kasich Leads Ohio Forward with New Budget: image Cincinnati.com
FromThe Columbus Dispatch: Governor John Kasich signed Ohio’s new budget yesterday, after it passed the state’s legislature strictly along party lines – with zero Democrats voting with their Republican counterparts. The budget which includes increases in vouchers for school choice, and includes a requirement for school districts to evaluate teachers based on performance. In addition, school districts that receive Federal “Race to the Top” dollars are to use that money for merit pay for teachers – a novel idea that suggests teachers who teach and excel be compensated!
The Race to the Top Program includes 4 billion dollars in grants, was applied to ten states (New York Times):
The 10 winners of the competition’s second round were the District of Columbia (which was treated as a state for its application), Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island.
Mr. Duncan has distributed all but about $75 million of the $3.4 billion that remained to Tuesday’s winners, and was still deciding what to do with the remaining money, he said.
Mr. Duncan apportioned the latest awards according to the number of students in each state. New York and Florida each won $700 million; Georgia, North Carolina and Ohio won $400 million; Massachusetts and Maryland won $250 million; and Rhode Island and the District of Columbia won $75 million.
Massachusetts, who recently released their MCAS (standardized test) scores, is the poster child for why one should not throw money at a problem, rather find real solutions to fix the problem. Ohio found solutions – although one could argue that only time will tell if these tweaks to the Ohio Education System might work, the fact that creating a competitive business model environment, offering incentives to employees who excel, generally increases productivity all the way around – competition is a good thing – (See District of Columbia.)
The Ohio Budget available here at www.lsc.state.ohio.us/fiscal/bid129/budgetindetail. The Govenor, using line-item veto, rejected 7 provisions according to the Dispatch:
Kasich also executed line-item vetoes of seven items, including a provision that would have canceled a voluntary body-mass-index screening program in schools.
Among the other six items vetoed was a provision related to the sale of five state prisons. Kasich struck from the budget a provision that if the buyer of a prison wanted to later put it up for sale, the state would have had the right of first refusal to buy back that prison at the original sale price. Kasich said the provision would have dramatically decreased the prisons' sale value for the state.
According to the American Federation for Children 40 of the 50 states and D.C., have some sort of school choice/voucher program in the state assemblies, with 20 states currently offering either school voucher or tax credit programs . The website offers a handy state by state reference as to achievement and programs offered: How does Massachusetts (who leads the nation in education) fare? a few statistics from the site: Massachusetts spends approximately $13,000 per student, with the end result that 57% of eighth graders are not proficient in reading!! This is an average for all municipalities in Massachusetts, however, speaking from personal experience: To educate a child in a elementary private parochial school in Western Massachusetts, the cost is approximately $3,000, those students enter either college prep schools (parochial with tuition costs of approximately $9,000), or public school systems after the 8th grade level. Those going into the public school system generally are placed in honors programs, while those going into the parochial system, at those costs, are basically guaranteed graduation, with acceptance (the majority) to 4 year colleges, and the minority to 2 year colleges – at a 100% graduation rate – the local public high school’s costs are approximately $12,000, with a graduation rate of 60%. Unfortunately, Massachusetts does not have a voucher program, rather they offer charter schools – normally those schools have a waiting list for enrollment.
It is no wonder then that those States that offer better education incentives to parents, lower taxes in general are a magnet for those who would prefer to live tax free while ensuring a better chance for their offspring, which, in effect, will have an impact on the next census: considering that states such as Massachusetts lost a seat, along with other Blue States, in the 2010 census due to individuals fleeing to more reasonable environments north and south of the border (of Massachusetts.) One has to ask, how many residents will be left in those states that do not offer taxpayers relief and how many more “Red States” will pick up additional congressional clout in a mere 9 years?
The Midwest is leading the pack with budgets that are both “controversial” (if one is a mainstream journalist or teachers or public employees union spokes mouth), and offer tax cuts as well as school choice, and increases in union members contributions to health and pension plans (modest at that). Inviting refugees from states that do not!
The exception to the Midwest rule of course, is New Jersey’s Tax and Slash, Budget Wise Governor, Chris Christie.