Councilman Zack Reed's August Blog | News
Investing in Education
“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” Benjamin Franklin
While we may debate its funding source, there is no doubt we must invest in education. The method of funding public education in Ohio is flawed and the system must be overhauled.
In 1990, the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled – and three additional times since – our state’s way of funding public schools is unconstitutional.
Ohio continues to cut funding from local school districts. CMSD struggled to fill a gap, created largely in part by cuts from Columbus. It will take a true collaborative effort between local leaders, local businesses and the State of Ohio for Cleveland’s schools to succeed and find the right way to invest in schools. Students in every district across this state should have an equal opportunity when it comes to education.
If we are going to ask homeowners to step up and do the right thing by supporting our schools, then it is only fair we ask the attorney general to enforce the Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling of our unconstitutional public education funding practices. If we are going to create additional revenue for the system, then it is only fair we ask that the system is fair and legal.
There have been successful local-state partnerships in the past. Issue 14 is a prime example of what works and a solid model to replicate when it comes to addressing school funding in Ohio. The passage of Issue 14 in 2001 combined local dollars and a dedicated stream of funds from Ohio for the $335 million construction and renovation program of CMSD. It made Cleveland eligible for a $500 million match from the State of Ohio to fix the crumbling school buildings in Cleveland.
I commend Mayor Jackson, CMSD CEO Eric Gordon, the business community and local foundations on their bold plan to reshape how our students learn and how the system can best meet their needs. But a bold plan must have sound finances to drive its success. Imagine if the state and/or federal government would match what residents agree to contribute to their local school district?
We have less students in the district, and unfortunately, less homeowners in the city. For those who’ve managed to ride out the economic downturn, is it fair to approach them and ask that they pay more in property taxes to save our schools and invest in our city’s future when
It will take all of us, working together, to stress to the State of Ohio the time has come to revisit how we invest in our schools, our students and our future. History has again and again shown us that investing in education in in the best interest of everyone in our community. A strong and stable school system means less drop outs, less crime and more opportunities for our youth to give back to society in a positive and forward thinking way. In the end it is the dollars that we as tax payers, in one way or another, invest in the future of our community. Let’s find a balance that is fair for all.