Yesterday's divisive school levy vote in Madeira, like those in a number of other Greater Cincinnati communities in recent years, could have been avoided if the Ohio General Assembly had only done its job.
The Madeira vote pitted the interests of homeowners, their children and worried property owners against each other. Voters faced a choice of cutbacks to a superb school system or painful increases in property taxes, which unfairly bear the burden of school funding in our state. The second ballot had to be scheduled after the proposed 9.4-mill levy was voted down in May by a mere 19 votes.
Such levies frequently appear on local ballots as school boards struggle to maintain excellence in the face of declining support from state and national governments. The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the way education is funded in Ohio is unconstitutional. The Republican majority that dominates the state's General Assembly has ignored four court orders to fund educational in a more equitable manner.
Rather than resolve the issue, the General Assembly passed a budget bill -- supported by my opponent and other Republican lawmakers -- that cut school funding by another $400 million while reducing taxes on the state's wealthiest residents. That action places a heavier burden on local taxpayers and school districts, which have to shoulder ever more of the cost of public education. State legislators are ignoring both court rulings and the needs of our children, who are left as pawns in levy battles even though education pays proven dividends; a police chief once told me that we can either pay it up front through education or pay even more in the end by building more prisons....The Ohio Republicans have failed our children.