Patterson urges state to invest in children, economy and jobs of the future

State Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) today responded to growing concerns over planned 2018 state education budget cuts affecting local schools, including Chardon Local, Geneva Area City Schools and the Happy Hearts School in Ashtabula, Ohio.

“We are constitutionally mandated under Ohio law to adequately fund our schools, yet the only thing we’ve seen over the last seven years is a constant chipping away of state support, only to push the burden onto local districts — and that’s not fair,” Rep. Patterson said. “Districts have had to cut back on programming, services and even some jobs in order to make ends meet. Our school funding formula is broken and placing the burden on the shoulders of communities is bad for students, taxpayers and the long-term health of our economy.”

State school funding formulas under the Kasich administration have cost Chardon Local Schools $1 million and Geneva Area City Schools $2 million since 2010. In addition to reductions under the state’s funding formula, losses from students opting to attend area charter schools, at the cost of $6,000 per pupil, have begun to stretch thin local resources, leading many Northeast Ohio communities to turn to school levies and local taxes to balance the budget.

Along with pending cuts at area school districts, the Ashtabula County Board of Developmental Disabilities has decided to shutter the Happy Hearts School after this school year. The 50-year-old institution currently serves the needs of area students with developmental disabilities.“Building a strong workforce to compete in the 21st century begins in the classroom,” Patterson said.

“Whether that’s through our traditional public schools or specialty schools like Happy Hearts, we need to find a formula that works for everyone, and that’s why I started the School Funding Workgroup. Working together and listening to the needs and concerns of local officials and administrators, we can create a funding model finally gives students the world-class education they deserve.”

The School Funding Workgroup is a bipartisan collection of state legislators, school treasurers, superintendents and other interested parties tasked with investigating and proposing changes to the state school funding formula. Meetings of the Workgroup are free and open to the public.

State cuts to local schools prove costly to students, community