Lawmakers and state educators will be watching when Gov. John Kasich unveils his school reform plan.
Democrats point to the last state budget that cut funding for education by $700 million.
“The constitution of the state of Ohio says we are to have a thorough and common system of common schools,” said Rep. Debbie Phillips.
Phillips is worried the Kasich plan will emphasize charter schools at the expense of public ones.
“There has been a lot of secrecy around the development of the governor’s education plan,” Phillips said. “I hope we see more accountability for charters schools, along with transparency on how they are spending tax dollars.”
Rep. Matt Lundy also took exception to a merit-based pay system for teachers.
“I think the performance pay issue is basically a mini Senate Bill 5,” Lundy said. “It’s a backdoor way to get in to collective bargaining. Ohioans have been very clear they support collective bargaining and the governor needs to stay away from that backdoor approach.”
Besides holding charter schools more accountable, Democrats want Kasich to spend some of the estimated $1 billion in the states rainy day fund on education.
“If the state has built up a surplus, it's done so by taking money from our schools and local communities, and we need those services,” said Phillips.
Kasich has proposed raising the severance tax on the oil and gas industry to provide a state income tax cut. But Democrats say it should go to education.
“The income tax cut looks good for his reelection and his run for the White House, but it’s not good for schools,” said Lundy.
Kasich will unveil his education reform plan Thursday at 2 p.m.
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