School buses could be lost under Kasich budget

If the Ohio Governor John Kasich gets his proposed budget for FY 2018-2019, Ohio schools could see fewer and older buses on the highways. The result of the 25% reduction in State assistance to school districts is just the latest in a string of assaults on rural school districts. An official of the Ohio School Board Association recently testified to the Ohio House Finance Committee as follows:

“The buses that our children ride to school in Ohio are aging. Many of our districts rely on buses that are over 10 years old with more than 100,000 miles. While these vehicles are heavy duty and continue to provide safe transportation for our children, the operating cost of vehicles of this age is high. The maintenance needs of an aging fleet can be overwhelming. As the fleet ages, costs continue to climb. These costs limit the funds available for our schools and

precludes their ability to purchase new school buses.” (Pete Japiksi, OSBA, 3-17-17).

Ironically, the State of Ohio used to provide funds to help school districts purchase newer and more fuel efficient school buses. This practice ended in 2009 when funds for this purpose were cut from the State Budget. The funds were instead diverted to cover the new line items for charter schools. Since 2009 the steady erosion of funds from public school districts controlled by elected school boards to charter schools run by paid consultants has continued. The current proposed budget gives an increase in excess of 20% in each of three line items in the budget earmarked for charter school expansion.

If you feel as concerned as I, please contact our representatives and ask them to vote “NO” on the governor’s budget as it is written. Better yet, attend our next meeting of Education Works SEO and join the effort to save our publically funded and locally controlled education system. Thank you.

Teresa Porter, Organizer with Education Works SEO

Education Works SEO will meet at 6 pm on Apr. 11 at the Washington Co. Public Library, Fifth St Marietta. For more information visit us at facebook.com/education-works-seo.

Teresa Porter

Marietta