Media Appearances

Education Oversight Panel Witnesses Push For School Transportation Funding Changes

Gongwer - Thursday, September 23, 2016 

"Varied bell schedules and aging bus fleets are contributing to schools spending significantly more to transport students than they receive in the state budget for that purpose, the Joint Education Oversight Committee heard Thursday.

Transportation is the first issue the panel has chosen to research, partly by bringing in experts and district leaders to explain the current issues schools are facing in getting students to class efficiently, safely and cost effectively.”

Learn more about the Ohio 8 Coalition testimony on school transportation here.

Will new tests create a high school graduation "train wreck"? Debate over higher standards goes to state school board


"Ohio's expectation that high school students learn more and have better skills before graduating could soon block more kids across the state from ever receiving a diploma.

That's the concern of some parents, educators and state officials who see warning signs of an upcoming "train wreck" because of lower-than-expected scores on new state tests that students must pass to graduate."

Learn more about the debate over high standards for graduation here. 

Value Added Report Card Measure Could Uncover Best Practices In High-Poverty Urban Schools, Report Shows

Gongwer - Friday, March 11, 2016 

"While most high-poverty urban schools saw low career readiness and performance scores on the latest state report cards, one study has delved deeper into the value-added measure to show which of those schools may actually be improving.

The Fordham Institute's Facing Facts report examines the value-added scores of traditional and charter schools in the so-called "Big Eight" cities to determine individual student improvement."

Learn more about the value added report card measure here.  


Distrust of state report cards and a "disconnect" with Columbus bother superintendents and OEA teachers union - Sunday, March 12 2016 

"Ohio's education system needs serious repairs to its testing, its state report cards, and a broken relationship between state government and local schools, a group of 20 superintendents and the Ohio Education Association told state officials in a letter this week."

Learn more about the response from superintendents and OEA teachers union to state report cards here. 

Legislators Push School Privatization with Little Public Input

WDTN - Monday, June 29, 2015


A new effort by Governor John Kasich and state legislators could mean some big changes to Ohio school districts. But some say legislators are bringing an overhaul to local schools, particularly with the effort to privatize what legislators define as “chronically failing schools.”

Senator Lehner introduced the amendment to House Bill 70 last Wednesday, and according to reports in about 12 hours, the bill was ready to send to Governor Kasich.


The Dayton Education Association Union President David Romick tells 2 NEWS that is the problem, there is opposition and it was shut out. 

Read or listen to the full article here >>>

Youngstown Teachers Union, School Board Condemn HB 70

WKBN News - Sunday, June 28, 2015


A law passed last week by Ohio lawmakers that gives the state control of the Youngstown City School District is not sitting well with the Youngstown teachers union or the Youngstown Board of Education.
Youngstown Education Association President Larry Ellis released a statement Saturday. He said the union is “very disappointed” that the input from teachers in the Youngstown City School District was not included in the creation of HB 70. “This continues a pattern of excluding teachers in the discussion concerning the education of the children of Youngstown,” Ellis wrote.

Read or listen to the full article here >>>

State to Get More Control of School Districts in Trouble

Toledo Blade - Friday, June 26, 2015


Changes to the state’s academic distress law that were approved by both the Ohio House and Senate on Wednesday give the state power to effectively take over struggling districts, allowing the removal of school boards, changes to union contracts, and the conversion of public schools into charter schools.


If a district remains in academic distress for a second year, the CEO can limit, suspend, or change any element of a collective-bargaining agreement with its employees. Union leaders, such as Toledo Federation of Teachers President Kevin Dalton, have criticized both the bill and how it was passed.

Read or listen to the full article here >>>

Ohio Coalition Recommends Changes to Standardized Testing

WKSU News - Tuesday, May 12, 2015


The Ohio 8 Coalition represents school administrators and teachers in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Toledo, Dayton, Youngstown, Akron and Canton. The group says the state needs to revamp its standardized testing process and supports the recommendations that came out of a Senate advisory committee.

One suggestion is to scale back the amount of testing from two phases down to just one later in the year. Kevin Dalton with the Ohio 8 Coalition says this is important for urban teachers who want to get away from a so-called “test and punish” model.

Read or listen to the full article here >>>

Listen to Schools on Bus Funding

Cincinnati Enquirer, Letter to the Editor - Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Transportation costs are a reoccurring concern for public schools across the state, and the schools in the Ohio 8 Coalition are no exception. For The Ohio 8 Coalition, an organization composed of union presidents and superintendents of the largest urban public school districts in Ohio, and for most urban, suburban and rural school districts, the state funds to support student transportation have not kept pace with actual costs.

Read the full article here>>>

Reforms of Public Charter Schools in Ohio Need to go much Further

The Vindicator, Letter to the Editor - Sunday, April 12, 2015

As outlined in this news- paper’s April 4 editorial “Charter reform bill falls short of the goal of full transparency,” financial disclosure and accountability for public charter schools is critical. My organization, the Ohio 8 Coalition, suggests that Ohio House Bill 2 go further in two specific ways.


First, it should require all charter school operator financial records to be publicly audited and disclosed. Accountability for the millions of public tax dollars sent to charter schools is now lost once given to the operator. Traditional public schools have at least two audits each year. Why set up a separate fiscal accountability system for public charter schools that have the same charge and responsibility on behalf of our kids?

Read the full article here>>>

Charter Schools should be Accountable

Toledo Blade, Letter to the Editor - Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Ohio 8 Coalition — an alliance of urban school superintendents and teacher union presidents — partners with high-performing charter schools in our communities to ensure that students, regardless of their school setting, are receiving a high-quality education. High-quality learning environments are more likely to exist in places where financial accountability and administrative transparency are demanded.

Read the full article here>>>

Charter Schools should be Publicly Audited

Columbus Dispatch, Letter to the Editor - Friday, March 27, 2015

Holding public charter schools and their operators and traditional public schools to the same financial reporting and auditing standards will help us achieve this collective goal. The status of a private operator should not exempt it from being accountable to the public, and in fact, such a relationship should demand accountability as a part of doing business with Ohio taxpayers.

Read the full article here>>>

Make Charter Reform Strong: Effectiveness Depends on Barring Conflicts, Enhancing Transparency

Columbus Dispatch, Editorial - Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Ohio 8 Coalition, a group representing big-city school districts, sensibly suggests adding a requirement that the names of charter-school board members and treasurers be made available online, along with teacher and administration salary schedules and total expenditures.


Lawmakers also should address another problem highlighted by the Ohio 8 Coalition: charter schools that are closed because of poor performance or mismanagement, only to reopen under a new name but with essentially the same failed staff, management and operator.

Read the full article here>>>

Main MBR Eliminates Contractors from STRS, Returns Dropout Diploma Program, Axes Property Tax Dispute Change

Gongwer Ohio, Volume #82, Report #106, Article #6 - Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Most school-related mid-biennial review (MBR) provisions appear in a separate bill but the MBR will pass with and without some notable education language. One major change to the bill is the reinsertion of language that outlines guidelines and state funding of dropout recovery programs and would allow students ages 22 - 29 to obtain high school diplomas. This provision, which originated in a separate bill (H.B. 343) submitted by Rep. Gerald Stebelton, applies to both district and charter-run dropout prevention programs. 

The Ohio 8 Coalition, sent a memo to the MBR conferees in support of the governor's community college-based program but not Stebelton's bill because of the potential for adults to be educated with minors.

Read More >>>


Senate Prep MBR Amendment to Allay Private Universities' Concerns with CCP Funding; Ohio 8 Requests Changes

Gongwer Ohio, Volume #83, Report #89, Article #3 - Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Ohio Senate Education Committee held a hearing on Mid-Biennial Budget Review (H.B. 487). Mary Ronan, Superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools, testified for the Ohio 8 Coalition. Superintendent Ronan recommended several changes to the bill.

Read More >>>


Education News: National School Choice Week Underway; Report Scrutinizes Top Ohio 8 Schools; UC Receives Grant

Gongwer Ohio, Volume #83, Report #17, Article #9 - Monday, January 27, 2014

Policy Matters Ohio issued a new report that the group says shows the highest rated district and charter schools in the urban 8 areas serve different populations that the districts do overall.

In response, the Ohio 8 Coalition said that the goal of the major urban districts is the same as all Ohio districts - to provide a high-quality education that prepares students for college and career. 

Read More >>>


Gov't: Most School Discipline Need Not Mean Court

Associated Press, The Big Story - Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Obama administration has asked the nation's schools to abandon what it described as overly zealous discipline policies that send students to court instead of the principal's office. However, even before this announcement, school districts around the country have been taking action to adjust the policies that disproportionately affect minority students.

In Akron, Ohio, Superintendent David James said recent analysis found a higher percentage of black students being disciplined in almost every category. James said he hopes the administration's effort will provide leverage for districts with parents, teachers and communities. 


Common Core Proponents, Opponents Inundate House Panel with Divergent Views

Gongwer Ohio, Volume #82, Report #266, Article #4 - Thursday, November 21, 2013

A bill to block Ohio's implementation of Common Core academic standards drew hundreds of speakers on both sides of the issue to the Statehouse this week.

Ohio 8 Co-Chair, Dayton Superintendent Lori Ward, spoke in support of the Common Core. Supt. Ward said that the Common Core standards allow Ohio to develop its own accountability model that is "demanding and flexible when necessary," which respects the unique needs of the state and its schools.



Ohio 8 Find Flaws in Report Card Concepts

Gongwer Ohio, Volume #82, Report #194, Article #5 - Friday, October 4, 2013

The new report card system is several years out from being fully phased in, but already the new measures have sparked concern among Ohio's largest urban districts.

Ohio 8 Coalition Co-Chair, Dayton Superintendent Lori Ward, explained that the latest rankings based on Value-Added, the Performance Index and gifted programs have obvious short comings.  

"The superintendent said the VA measure was meant to recognize the achievements of schools and educators who have students that start the school year academically behind so even if they do not score well on achievement tests, there is still recognition for progress."



House Version of K-12 Formula has Less Funding than Kasich Plan;  Witness Press for Greater Investment in Education

Gongerwer Ohio, Volume #82, Report #70, Article #5 - Thursday, April 11, 2013


On Thursday, April 11, the Ohio House Finance and Appropriations Committee held a hearing on the House Substitute for H.B. 59 - the budget proposed by Gov. John Kasich, which includes his school funding proposal. The substitute bill drastically changes the proposed school funding formula and proposes funding Ohio's schools at $6.6 billion in FY14 and $6.9 billion in FY15.

 David Romick, President of the Dayton Education Association and Ohio 8 Coalition Leadership Team member, testified on behalf of the Ohio 8. In his testimony, Mr. Romick shared several concerns regarding the new formula which included special education catastrophic cost funding, voucher expansion and the contract out provision.


Projection of Charter School Budget Funding further Frustrates District Advocates

Gongwer Ohio, Volume #82, Report #49, Article #9 - March 13, 2013


Under Gov. John Kasich's school funding proposal, charter/community schools would receive a $34.79 million increase in funding. The increase is a result of more than $805 million in state funds that would be passed through public school districts and sent to the charters. This is an estimated $34.8  million increase in charter/community school funding from FY12. 

School districts that will be hardest hit by these deductions are districts located in urban centers across the state. Cleveland Municipal Schools will lose $121.3 million to charter/community schools - nearly $5 million more than in past years.  Dayton Public Schools is projected to lose close to $45 million in funding - a $2.53 million increase in money being sent to charter/community schools.


Nearly Half of Ohio School Districts will Lose Money under Gov. Kasich's School Funding Proposal

Cleveland Plain Dealer, March 13, 2013

Based on data collected by the Legislative Service Commission and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, nearly half of Ohio's school districts will end up with a decreased amount of state funds once money is removed from their budgets for charter schools. 

Two of the districts who will see decreases in state funding are Ohio 8 Coalition districts, Cleveland and Toledo.Cleveland Municipal School District could lose nearly $5 million in state aid, while Toledo Public Schools would see a $1.5 million decrease. 


Unions Weigh In On K-12 Budget; Groups Oppose 'Parent Trigger' Expansion

Gongwer Ohio, Volume #82, Report #41, Article #4 - March 1, 2013

 On Friday, March 1, the Ohio House Finance and Appropriations Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education held a hearing on H.B. 59 - the budget proposed by Gov. John Kasich, which includes his school funding proposal. Several groups testified during the committee hearings including teacher's unions, education foundations, education interest groups and the Ohio 8 Coalition.  

David James, Ohio 8 Co-chair and Superintendent of Akron Public Schools, testified on behalf of the Ohio 8. During his testimony, Supt. James suggested that if the  parent trigger law were to remain in the bill, that should be considered a pilot program so that the all the process-related issues could be worked out before the program is expanded. 


Kasich Budget Could Require Low-Performing Schools to Outsource Teaching

State Impact Ohio, February 13, 2013

Governor John Kasich's budget contains a provision that would expand Ohio's parent trigger law statewide. The parent trigger law allows for low-performing public school parents to vote to turn the school into a charter school or replace most of the school's staff. This provision could create huge changes to schools but many details about how it would work are still emerging.


Kasich Schools Team Prepares to Defend New Formula

Times Leader, February 13, 2013

Ohio Governor John Kasich and his education team are preparing to defend their school funding formula proposal that left many districts surprised at the lack of additional dollars. Ohio 8 Co-Chairs react to the Governor's proposal saying,

"We are concerned about potential new restrictions and/or mandates related to funding and significant policy proposals," said a joint statement from Akron Superintendent David James and Cleveland Teachers Union chief David Quolke.


Yost Names Cincinnati, Canton, Northridge, Winton Woods To Final List Of ‘Scrubbers'

Gongwer Ohio, Volume #82, Report #28, February 11, 2013

Ohio State Auditor, David Yost, identified nine school districts found to have "scrubbed" student attendance data. Canton City Schools, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cleveland Municipal School District, Columbus City Schools and Toledo City Schools were all named in the statewide audit.

Mary Ronan, Superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools, responded to the allegations,

"Students who have been withdrawn occasionally reenroll in another CPS school, sometimes weeks or months after the student has stopped attending school," she wrote. "We understand that ODE would prefer that CPS cancel the student's withdrawal, and report that the student was 'continuously enrolled.' Without reporting a withdrawal, however, there is no way for CPS to reflect the period of time during which the student was not attending school.


"CPS has examined this matter internally and found no evidence that any of its employees intentionally manipulated student data in a manner in which they knew to be improper."



Administration Consults with Cincinnati on Student-Based Budgeting in Context of Funding Formula

Gongwer Ohio, Volume #81, Report #247, December 21, 2012

The Kasich administration has reached out to several districts, including Cincinnati Public Schools,  for information on best practices regarding the development of a new school funding formula.Ohio 8 member, Mary Ronan, explained,

They did call and talked to us because we've been doing a student-based budget with our schools over the years and having the money follow the children, so they asked me questions about that, questions about shared services and efficiencies that we have found," she said in an interview.

Read more >>>


Ohio 8 Says Fast-Tracked Report Card Revamp Needs More Time for Stakeholder Input

Gongerwer Ohio, Volume #81, Report #225, Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Ohio 8 Coalition submitted a memo to the Ohio House Education Committee regarding HB 555, a bill which would overhaul the state report card system. Canton City Schools Interim Superintendent spoke on behalf of the Ohio 8, 

"We know that we need to have a new accountability system...and I will say that they've been great to some degree at being inclusive, but the train is moving too fast," 


"My biggest concern is that we vet all of the issues and we have an opportunity to look at all the unintended consequences that can happen from it.... We have a diverse state in Ohio, and it's really important that we have an inclusive process that gets all of those issues on the table, all the issues from all the diverse stakeholders."

Read more >>> 

'Ohio 8' Urban School Districts Target Data System

Canton Repository, September 26, 2012

Ohio 8 Coalition school districts have encountered numerous problems with the Ohio Department of Education's Educational Management Information System (EMIS). The Ohio 8 stated that they would like to work with the Ohio Department of Education to address the problems. 

“I would like the message to be that we would like to work with the state to ensure that
the system is efficient, because it’s really not efficient right now,” said Dayton Public
Schools Superintendent Lori L. Ward, who has a background in information technology.