Tuesday, April 22, 2008


It appears that many community schools are fighting for their very survival.

In a recent piece authored by The Repository's Columbus Bureau Chief (Koystyu), Bill Sims, president/chief executive officer of Ohio Alliance For Public Charter Schools (OAPCS), candidly articulates the fight for funding in light of $101 million in budget cuts mandated on the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) for fiscal years 2008 and 2009.

Sims focus on the dollars belies his "apparent" point that charter/community schools do not hurt the finances of public schools.

We remember from the Watergate era the admonition to "follow the money!"

Sims implies in his comments to Koystyu, in the opinion of the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT, that urban school are not making an effective use of public monies but that community schools are.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT says that this fight generated by the Ohio community school movement is not about quality of education but staying in business.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

EDITORIAL: Canton Chamber Task Force Effort Will Hurt Stark County Public Education Funding

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT has learned that the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce is besieging the Stark County Educational Service Center (formerly known as the Stark County Board of Education) with record requests. In fact, the Chamber has hired former Repository editor David Kaminski to assist in formulating the requests.

What is becoming apparent from the nature of the requests is that the Chamber is looking for data as a basis to insist that further cuts be made in county administration costs and presumably by Stark County's 17 school districts. Recently the Ohio Department of Education ordered cuts that will cost the ESC about $250,000 in state funding next year.

Is one of the Chamber's targets the health care program administered by county superintendent Larry Morgan for the area teaching force and administrative staffs.

Would it be cynical to suggest that the Chamber may be trying to break up this program to benefit its members who are in the business are selling health care insurance? Perhaps. But the Chamber bears watching.

One member of the task force has told the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT that the leadership of the task force have assured members that its overall effort is not to undermine local school levy efforts by suggesting that further county administration and local school district cuts need to be made.

The Chamber task force leadership represents that its motivation is to verify that Stark County educators are highly efficient with public funding and that its study will support the need for future local school district levy funding requests.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT is skeptical of the announced reasons that the Chamber gives for its search of records. One hopes that the Chamber realizes it is playing with fire in this undertaking.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT believes that this Chamber effort is likely to end up hurting local school districts.