Last week, Franklin City Schools Superintendent Anrol Elam sent students home with a letter criticizing Governor John Kasich’s education funding proposal. To date, the budget is still under construction.
The letter stated, “Governor John Kasich was untruthful last week, and in doing so, finally clarified that kids in poor districts don’t count.” Franklin is the poorest district in the county.
Elam’s letter continued, “The governor’s funding plan has taken from the children that attend the Franklin City Schools and gives to the rich…” He correctly pointed out that Mason, Springboro, and Kings are listed in the data table as recipients of additional funds next year while state aid to Franklin the other Warren County districts is due to remain steady.
The letter implored readers to “join” Elam “in an active campaign to ensure that Gov. Kasich and any legislator who supports him are not re-elected.”
Elam had been quoted in the Middletown Journal last week claiming that the governor had lied by claiming that poorer schools would “get money.” He also said, “The people in these richer districts should send those of us in poorer districts a thank-you note because now they can drive a bigger Mercedes.” So Elam’s passion is clear as is his penchant for strident rhetoric.
On Friday, the story took a new twist, as the Ohio Democratic Party officially pushed the inquiry into party politics by submitting a public records request with Warren County regarding any possible communication between the prosecutor and the governor’s office.
Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern launched the probe in large part because the Warren County Prosecutor, David Fornshell, is a Republican. Redfern called Fornshell one of Kasich’s top political donors, although he does not appear on the Project Vote Smart list as one of the governor’s top contributors.
The charge may be designed simply to instill suspicion, but it is the latest blow in what has now become a partisan political exchange.