“EdChoice/Voucher/Ohio School Funding” a forum on Feb 25, 2020 (w/write up and video)


EdChoice/Voucher/Ohio School Funding Forum

February 25, 2020 7:00p.m.
The flyer is here
The forum summary is here
The video is here

25700 Science Park Dr #100 in Landmark Centre, Beachwood, OH 44122
with panelists:
•Chad L. Aldis, Vice President, Thomas B. Fordham Instit
•Stephen Dyer, Education Policy Fellow, Innovation Ohio
•Frank W. O’Linn, Ed.D, Sec for Education and Superintendent of Schools for the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland
•Barbara Shaner, Ohio Assoc of Schools Business Officials
Moderated by Patrick O’Donnell, Plain Dealer Education Reporter

Patrick O’Donnell, The Plain Dealer

Cosponsored by The Plain Dealer, CWRU Siegal Lifelong Learning and the League of Women Voters-Greater Cleveland
Corporate Sponsor: First Interstate Properties Ltd.

Voucher/EdChoice in Ohio January 2020

State Senator Peggy Lehner tells the state school board Tuesday she hopes legislators will be cautious in making quick changes to the state’s private school tuition voucher program. (cleveland.com 1/14/2020)

Voucher/EdChoice in Ohio January 2020

1. Read what LWV Schools advocate Susie Kaeser wrote:
Diversion of Ohio school dollars to non-public schools has become a raging river. It must stop: Susie Kaeser
Op-ed on January 10, 2020 cleveland.com

2. Read more about Vouchers and EdChoice in Ohio in these articles:

Change To Exploding Voucher Program Likely Coming, But Time Is Running Out
by Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Jan 17, 2020

Do vouchers need a big “fix” or a small one? Legislature leaves two weeks to decide
by Patrick O’Donnell 

With Feb. 1 deadline looming, Ohio House seeks to change school voucher program
by Laura Hancock, cleveland.com

 

Expansion of Ohio’s EdChoice voucher program puts state’s complicated school funding formula in spotlight
by Todd Dykes WLWT Cincinnati

Lawmaker Questions Republican Willingness to Correct Massive School Voucher Expansion

by Karen Kasler WKSU

Dublin, Upper Arlington, Worthington schools ‘under-performing’? New system to expand Ohio vouchers flags even top-tier suburban public schools

by Anna Staver Columbus Dispatch

 

Heights Schools Ask For Help Fighting Voucher Program Losses
The Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District lost $4.2 million to voucher deductions in 2019, one school official said.
By Chris Mosby, Patch

Larry Householder should aim for nothing less than a truly comprehensive Ohio school-funding fix

By Editorial Board, cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer

 

Editorial: Revisit rules to make school voucher program more rational
Columbus Dispatch Editorial Board

 

Increase in private school tuition vouchers is costing districts – and soon you
By Patrick O’Donnell The Plain Dealer

3. More from Susan Kaeser
Voucher Update
Rural and urban interests are frequently at odds when Ohio’s lawmakers assert their interests. This division no longer applies to school vouchers.  

Starting with the 2020 school year, every member of the state legislature will represent at least one school district that must use local funds to pay for students to attend a private school under Ohio’s EdChoice voucher program. 

Because test scores drive eligibility and scores reflect income, the first victims of the voucher laws were high poverty districts – urban districts.  

But new laws – inserted in the new state budget without public review – made the issue ubiquitous.  In just three years EdChoice districts grew from 39 to more than 400 – two-thirds of the state’s 612 school districts. 

The legislature needs to staunch the bleeding of public school budgets by ending the requirement that local districts pay for students they don’t educate at the expense of those they do. 

Legislatures can unite on this one! They can freeze the growth of vouchers, change rules defining Edchoice schools, only grant vouchers to students leaving a public school, and starting with this school year, pay for any new vouchers they approved but didn’t fund for 2019-20. 

4. Forum video:

“How do school vouchers affect our public schools and taxpayers?” Thursday March 14, 2019. 7:00-8:30pm 

This panel will present information on how Ohio’s school voucher policies impact the Cleveland Heights-University Heights schools, as well as other schools in Cuyahoga County and beyond. 

Panelists: Susie Kaeser, LWVO Lobby Corps and Hts Coalition for Public Education 

James Posch, Cleveland Hts-Univ. Hts (CH-UH) Board of Education 

Scott Gainer, CFO/Treasurer, CH-UH City School District 

Meryl Johnson, Ohio State Board of Education, District 11 

Moderator:Jayne Geneva, past chair Lay Finance Committee for the CH-UH Board of Education 

Heights Library Main Branch 2345 Lee Road Cleveland Hts 44118 Cosponsored by Heights Coalition for Public Schools and the CHUH Council of PTAs

5. CALL TO ACTION: LWV-Ohio request
League of Women Voters of Ohio

ADVOCACY WORKS! The legislature is beginning to respond to the backlash against public funds going to private schools. Have you contacted your legislator yet? Click on link

 

High quality preschool closes the achievement gap, experts say By JULIE HULLETT

 

High quality preschool closes the achievement gap, experts say
By JULIE HULLETT
The pdf is here

SHAKER HEIGHTS — Early childhood education has a huge impact on children’s success later in school and as adults, according to local experts at the “Closing the Achievement Gap: Preschool and Early Child Education” forum on Jan. 30.

This panel discussion, hosted by Shaker Heights Public Library and Shaker Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters at the Shaker Heights Main Library, included Executive Director of Starting Point Billie Osborne Fears and Director of the Cuyahoga County Office of Early Education/Invest in Children Rebekah Dorman.

Executive Director of the Early Childhood Enrichment Center Beth Price and Chief Academic Officer of the Shaker Heights City School District Marla Robinson were also on the panel and Sharon Broussard, former editorial writer for The Plain Dealer, served as the moderator.

“There has been research that documents, especially for kids who are coming from less advantaged backgrounds, that a high quality early care and education experience helps level the playing field for them,” Dr. Dorman said. “The research has been a game changer for us because it demonstrates that it’s an investment that is not [only] socially just, it is a smart thing to do from an economic perspective.”

Value of preschool

Preschool not only gives students a foundation for their kindergarten through 12th grade education, but it also develops necessary social and emotional skills, according to Ms. Price. She said that the Early Childhood Enrichment Center (ECEC), located on Sussex Road in Shaker Heights, focuses on children’s social and emotional needs so they can feel good about themselves, be socially adept and express themselves to other people.

Ms. Price also said that the ECEC is diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, background and socioeconomic status. At Ms. Price’s ECEC center, 90 percent of the children were ready for language and literacy, as measured by the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment, which is administered by the Ohio Department of Education.

Dr. Robinson said that there is a strong correlation between early educational experiences and a student’s success in a school setting. Expectations for students are much different now than in the past, she said.

“The best thing we can do to set them up for success in the k-12 setting is high quality preschool,” according to Dr. Robinson.

Cost barrier

Despite the importance of early childhood education, the panelists said that cost is still a barrier to many families. Ms. Broussard noted that the average cost of quality childcare is $8,600 per year. She asked the panelists to first define what makes childcare “quality” or not and explain why the cost is so high.

Ms. Fears described Step Up to Quality, a five-star quality rating and improvement system administered by the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. All early childhood education programs and preschool special education programs are mandated to participate in the rating and earn a 3, 4 or 5 to maintain state funding. She said that the rating was developed to help inform parents on the quality of different programs and provide support for education programs. Ms. Fears added that the teachers are key to the success of the program.

“There are several things that we know from the research. The most important indicator really rests with the teacher,” she said. “If they are educated in early childhood development and understand how children grow and develop…children will do quite well.”

Furthermore, preschool programs are costly, she said, because the administrators are trying to offer competitive wages and benefits to recruit and retain quality teachers. However, the turnover rate is high because the teachers can earn a higher salary at a public school district.

Dr. Robinson said that the Shaker Heights City School District offers preschool scholarships based on the family’s eligibility for free or reduced price meals and offers a payment plan. Ms. Price said that ECEC accepts students on childcare subsidies whose parents have a low income but are either working or in school.

“The state pays for part of their childcare and they pay a copay. They don’t pay us as much as we would get from a private pay individual but we feel that it’s important that everybody has that access to quality early care and education,” Ms. Price said. “We really try to make it for everyone.”

She added that ECEC is also part of Cuyahoga County’s universal prekindergarten program, so the county pays for a portion of the tuition. Ms. Fears said that middle class families are often hit the hardest since they do not qualify for the same financial assistance that low income families do.

“We feel confident that we’re delivering the gold standard of quality,” Dr. Dorman said of the universal prekindergarten program, which includes 67 sites across the county.

The panel discussed a variety of other topics, including recruiting minority students to preschool programs and engaging the parents. Dr. Robinson said that Shaker Heights schools are working strategically to seek out low income and underrepresented families to join preschool programs.

Dr. Dorman also spoke on community engagement, noting that the county Office of Early Childhood/Invest in Children is building a two generation approach to support the children and the parents’ needs. For example, the parents could use resources for further education and career exploration.

The panelists reminded the audience that many services for early childcare and prekindergarten are provided by the health and human services levy, which is on the March 17 primary ballot. If passed, the 4.7-mill levy will replace the current 3.9-mill levy. It would cost the property owner an additional $41 per $100,000 of property value from 2021-2028.

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Cuyahoga County Plastic Bag Ban January 2020

      
Thank you Governor DeWine for supporting home rule and protecting Lake Erie.

Please tell your Ohio State Senator to let local areas determine their own laws, especially on plastics which can harm our lakes and rivers

This from the Sierra Club of Ohio:
EVERYONE make calls to Governor DeWine’s office applauding his position against the container law preemption bills and for local government freedom to develop solutions to plastic pollution. (Pats on the back are always nice, and hopefully it will encourage him to hold strong on his position and veto any bills that may make it to his desk)  (614) 644-4357

To find your Ohio State Senator (or Rep.), click here

Here are tools we can use to educate about the Cuyahoga County Single-Use Plastic Bag ban

 

“School Funding in Ohio: The Possibilities and Challenges of Creating a Solution” Feb 10, 2020 at Heights High

School Funding in Ohio: The Possibilities and Challenges of Creating a Solution
Monday February 10, 2020 7:00p.m.
Cleveland Heights High School, 16263 Cedar Road
w/Representative John Patterson (D-Jefferson) and Bill Phillis, Executive Director of the Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding

School funding in Ohio has been deemed unconstitutional for over 20 years.
 
Rep. Patterson (D – Jefferson) and Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Lima) led a three-year process to address the shortcomings of Ohio’s school funding system. HB 305 is now making its way through the legislature.
 
In the 1997 DeRolph decision, the Ohio Supreme Court found Ohio’s funding system unconstitutional. Bill Phillis, Executive Director of the Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding, the organization that brought the lawsuit, will provide the history of Ohio’s funding lawsuit and an overview of the constitutional issues that need to be solved.
 
Rep. Patterson will address the challenges in defining a realistic estimate of the costs of education, in determining how much state aid is required and distributing it fairly, and in garnering enough public and lawmaker support for necessary changes.
State Representative Janine Boyd, will introduce the experts and participate in the question and answer portion of the meeting.
 
Event sponsors are Heights Coalition for Public Education, League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland, Reaching Heights, CHUH PTA Council, NE Ohio Friends of Public Education, the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union, CH-UH Board of Education.
 

Facts must matter, as Cleveland political history shows by Brent Larkin, cleveland.com 12/31/2019

“Facts must matter, as Cleveland political history shows”
by Brent Larkin, cleveland.com 12/31/2019

“Facts must matter. The news media has no obligation to spread lies merely in the interest of so-called balance. First, foremost and always, its obligation is to the truth.”
The link is here

How Do We Increase Voter Turn Out in 2020 Weds Nov 13, 2019 at 7pm (incl video)


How Do We Increase Voter Turn Out in 2020

Wednesday, November 13, 2019
7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Shaker Heights Public Library Main 16500 Van Aken Blvd
The flyer is here
Ways to improve participation in the November 3, 2020 election
The forum write up is here
The video is here

Panelists
Mike Brickner, Ohio State Director, All Voting is Local

Anthony W. Perlatti, Director, Cuyahoga County Board of
Elections

Jen Miller, Director, League of Women Voters Ohio

Free and open to the public
Cosponsored by League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland-Shaker Chapter and Shaker Heights Public Library

“Experts say state needs bail reform” by Julie Hullett

Summary of “Bail Reform” forum held at Cleveland Hts/University Hts Public Library on Thursday December 12, 2019

Experts say state needs bail reform
By JULIE HULLETT
The pdf is here


left to right: Nick Castele- Ideastream, Claire Chevrier ACLU Ohio, Judge Charles L. Patton Jr., Cleveland Municipal Court, Judge John J. Russo, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS — Panelists at a Thursday forum concluded that the state of Ohio is in desperate need of bail reform, a slow yet necessary process to even the scales as defendants stand before the justice system.

The Greater Cleveland Chapter of the League of Women Voters sponsored the event at the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library on Dec. 12, in addition to other sponsors such as Case Western Reserve University Siegal Lifelong Learning, Heights Public Library, Ideastream and First Interstate Properties, Ltd.

Nick Castele of WCPN/Ideastream moderated the panel, which consisted of advocacy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Claire Chevrier, Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Charles Patton, Jr. and Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Administrative and Presiding Judge John Russo.

“In Ohio, we have a two-tier system of justice in which wealthy individuals who were assigned cash bail as a condition of release get to go home to their families,” Ms. Chevrier said. “Those who don’t have deep pockets and can’t pay for their cash bail as a condition of release stay in jail.”

The video from the forum is here:

Pretrial services

Judge Patton said that Cleveland did not have a pretrial services department two years ago. A representative from pretrial services greets people in custody directly after their arrest and gathers information such as their employment and housing status. Judge Patton said that a risk assessment tool is used to determine if the person is a risk to the community and the pretrial services department gathers that information.

He said that there are currently 90 people in Cleveland Municipal Court jail. Several years ago, there was an average 200-300 people in jail on any day, according to Judge Patton.

“During this year, we have reduced our jail population by more than 50 percent by utilizing the pretrial services,” he said.

Risk assessments

Ms. Chevrier said that risk assessments cannot be objective. Although some are better than others, she said, risk assessments are based on underlying biases and criminal policing. For example, some assessments would flag defendants who live in a high crime neighborhood, which Ms. Chevrier said is criminalization of poverty. Other biases include number of former arrests and convictions, which can have racially disparate outcomes, she explained.

“There’s a lot of coercion under cash bail system,” she said. “That is not an objective measure.”

Closing the gap

Judge Russo explained how Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court works in coordination with Cleveland Municipal Court. He said that 60 percent of the felony charges in the common pleas court come from the 13 municipal courts in the county. The county court must manage 15,000 to 17,000 cases per year, he said.

Six years ago, Judge Russo said that defendants waited an average of 30 days in jail between appearing in front of the municipal court and the county court. He said that the gap is now four days because dire consequences come from being stuck in jail.

“We closed that gap for a number of reasons…[like] how it can affect someone’s life in a matter of three days, losing a car, a job, a home, whatever it might be,” Judge Russo said.

Moving forward

Judge Russo was a member of the Supreme Court of Ohio’s task force on bail reform and the group published nine recommendations, including requiring a risk assessment tool and the presence of counsel for an initial appearance, considering alternatives to pretrial detention and use text or email reminders for court dates, according to the report.

Judge Russo said that Ohio needs a “centralized data-based system for criminal justice system” so every region of the state can collect and compare data equally. Judge Patton compared the costs of keeping people in jail or releasing them until their next court date.

“We are spending between $100-150 per night per defendant in jail,” Judge Patton said. “We are spending less than $10 for every night they’re on the street.”

Ms. Chevrier and the ACLU are advocating for “a presumption of release” unless the judge or prosecutor asks for a hearing because they notice something concerning in the facts of the case or the person’s history that could make the person a public safety risk.

Audience members and mental health professionals Dr. Megan Testa and Annette Amistadi said that the forum was informative. Dr. Tetsa of Shaker Heights, a psychiatrist at University Hospitals, said that she often works will patients who are mentally ill and need treatment rather than jail time. Ms. Amistadi of Parma said that she came to the forum to learn more about how the justice system can treat people fairly and work as efficiently as possible.

Mayor Kessler (Bexley OH), Alan R. Rosenfeld LWV-Ohio, Sunny Simon/Mike Foley Testimony, Senate Bill 222, 12/3/19

Mayor Kessler (Bexley OH) Testimony, Senate Bill 222, 12/3/19
Mayor Ben Kessler, City of Bexley
testimony on 12/3/19 S.B. 222 (3rd Hearing)
Ohio Senate version of “banning the ban” re: single use bags
“Local Government, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs” Committee

The link is here
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League of Women Voters-Ohio Testimony
SB222 – Prohibit Tax Plastic Bag
Alan R. Rosenfield – Energy Specialist
Peggy Ann Berry – Environment Specialist
Senate Local Government, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee December 3, 2019
The link is here

Testimony from Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Sunny Simon and Cuyahoga County Sustainability Director Mike Foley
The link is here

All of the testimony is here under December 3, 2019

A McDonald’s That Reflects the Soul of a People Hough Area Development Corporation and Community Development in Cleveland by Nishani Frazier

A McDonald’s That Reflects the Soul of a People
Hough Area Development Corporation and Community Development in Cleveland
by Nishani Frazier

from: The Business of Black Power, 2012

The link is here