Friday, December 16, 2011

What I Want For Christmas ...

We need Gov. Kasich'a leadership to stop HB136 - a house bill ready for vote that allows public funds to be used for vouchers for families making $95,0000 less to pay for parochial and private tuition.

HB136 is misleading voters and will only anger Ohioans down the road when they realize they've been duped and lead astray by a small group of Ohioans and their representatives who have a political axe to grind about unions and public school education. Furthermore, they're using our children with disabilities to pass a bill that will have no impact on their ability to receive special services outside the school district due to current statues and laws.

First of all, it is the Governor's responsibility to clarify for voters that voucher money is not going to fall from the sky, the Ohio Treasury, or out of taxes currently being used to pay for public schools. He is required to be upfront about where Ohio district schools will get the additional money to give vouchers to 80,000 families making less than $95,000 & currently attending private and parochial schools. Last time I checked the census, the majority of Ohioans make less than $95,000.

It is also Governor Kasich's responsibility to inform families who believe that a "voucher" will give them direct access to special education services. That's not true. It has always been the school district representatives & IEP team (parents included) that determine "services" according to current state statutes and federal law. No voucher or state legislation can change that unless they change current Ohio statutes and federal law.

If students require special education services that cannot be provided by the school district due to their disability, federal law requires the school to provide it through "continuum of alternative services." This is how my 17 year daughter is attending a special therapy school operated by HC/dds in Cincinnati since she was school-age ready. I didn't need a voucher to do this 11 years ago because special education rights are guarenteed and protected by current state statutes during Gov. Taft's administration complying with federal law. He actually closed hundreds of state funded MR/dd therapy schools and discontinued contracts with service organizations throughout Ohio because his administration believed there was a duplication of services provided by the school districts.

By supporting and signing this bill, Gov. Kasich will be perpetuating a legacy for increasing property taxes because HB 136 turns the state’s obligation of providing a thorough and efficient “system” of public education into a private benefit resulting in unprecedented levels of voucher expansions that will have a financial impact for every school district in the state! Down the road, tax payers who pay for for public education will eventually see that Gov. Kasich doubled the tax burden. Does he want his legacy to be one where he wasted more tax payer money through repeals, lawsuits, and higher taxes by supporting and signing this voucher bill?

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