Several dozen unionized teachers and community supporters gathered outside the Ohio Statehouse yesterday to "reclaim the promise of public education" in one of more than 100 such public events planned nationwide.
"Governor Kasich has provided $550 million less in state funding to public schools than in the last year of Governor Strickland's administration," said Daria DeNoia, a special education teacher for Columbus City Schools.
"As a result, 90 percent of schools are making cuts for the 2013 – 2014 school year. The things that they're cutting are teachers, classes offered, and after school programs for students," DeNoia said.
The educators were joined by labor allies, including SEIU Local 1, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1059, and the AFL-CIO. They stood at the corner of State and High Streets, across the street from the office of John Kasich in the Riffe Center.
"We didn't start this fight, but we're going to finish it," said Ohio Education Association president Becky Higgins. "Governor Kasich's second budget increased state aid to unaccountable, failing charter schools. That's just wrong.
"His state budget shifts the tax burden onto the backs of senior citizens and middle- and low-income Ohioans, all the while giving the wealthiest one percent of Ohioans a nearly $10,000 tax break," Higgins said.
"Today, all across the country, students, parents, and educators are uniting to demand that Governor Kasich and his allies in the General Assembly listen to those who know our schools best, by putting students before for-profit charter operators and Ohio's wealthiest one percent."