Ohio GOP Trying to Intimidate School Districts Into Submission?
After promising that his new school funding plan was going to help raise up poor school districts, our governor, Taxin' John Kasich, revealed an actual plan that did the opposite: it increased funding to many wealthy districts, while leaving most poor districts with nothing additional. That means a cut, since school districts got cut in the last budget. So keeping funding at the same level means locking in the cut.
Many school districts expressed disappointment, understandably. They're tired of being told they should "do more with less." Many are at the point where they can only do LESS with less, while having all kinds of increased demands for accountability and performance heaped on them. They're being told to meet these demands without adequate tools. It's like telling you to build a house with scissors and thumbtacks.
One of the districts expressing disappointment was the Franklin Schools in very Republican Warren County. It's one of the poorer districts in this wealthy county, and it came up empty-handed in the new funding distribution. One really couldn't expect the superintendent to be jumping for joy.
It seemed odd then that the county prosecutor David Fornshell announced he was opening an investigation — since dropped — into a letter the superintendent sent out to the community expressing that disappointment in perhaps too personal terms, urging that Kasich and those who support him in this matter not be reelected.
But was Fornshell acting on orders from above? This Dayton Daily News story suggests he might have been.
The Warren County prosecutor received calls and emails from Ohio Republican Party staffers on the day he opened an investigation into the actions of the Franklin Schools superintendent, according to records obtained by the Middletown Journal.
Fornshell, of course, claims he wasn't coordinating with the party officials he communicated with, but only responding to a complaint he had received. That complaint, it turns out, came from a Tea Party member. Oh, of course THEY don't have an agenda... right?
This never seemed like a matter into which a prosecutor should have butted his bully head. The information that he may have discussed the matter with top party officials is not comforting. It's of a piece with Kasich's attitude that he can bully and intimidate people into accepting his "philosophy" even when the real-world practical effect is to damage the state's most challenged public schools.