Saturday, September 29, 2007

RH Jones: A moral obligation: Passage of HB 315

From RH Jones, September 29, 2007
Subject: A moral obligation: Passage of HB 315

To all:
On a beautiful autumn day, Concerned Ohio Retired Educators (CORE) volunteers work hard to gain public support and to convince Ohio’s state politicians to pass the HB 315 to finally establish a steady stream of Health Care (HC) for retired professional educators. In light of the increase of past and present mental and physical stresses placed on their educators, Ohio School Boards have not provided funding for proper and secure HC that is their moral responsibility to provide. The following are even more reasons that this bill should be made Ohio law through public and school board support:
1) The public has wanted “local control”; therefore, the 600 Local Ohio School Boards have the necessary task of raising public funds to provide the necessary HC.
2) Insuring fiscal efficiency, so that the funding is always available for the STRS HC is a board duty.
3) The school boards need to guarantee that companies that do business furnish better quality of their goods used by educators - shoddy supplies, construction and private services lead to a quicker turnaround of tax dollars.
4) As the two major political parties are now in cooperation in sponsoring HB315, school boards must follow their lead in getting the STRS HC implemented.
5) Although HB 315 is state legislation, local boards provide the largest percent of support of public education - it has not been the active educator or retired educators task to raise local, state or federal revenue.
In conclusion, the need is immediate and critical; waiting for state or federal changes to provide STRS funding for HC is not an option. Without a reliable steady stream of funding the STRS HC will soon expire! As a profession, teaching has never been one that has been properly compensated for the expensive job requirements of college training mandated by local and state school boards. Job security, and a satisfactory retirement, has been a major draw to attract and keep good people in this essential occupation: that of teaching our most precious possession: our children. As retired educators become ill, are school boards to become ill natured or mean spirited when it comes to supporting retiree HC for the teaching professionals of their children? This is one retired professional who thinks that board members have better intentions than that. This is my sentiment.
Robert Hudson Jones, a retired 6th grade teacher member of Ohio’s STRS

Dave Parshall corners John Edwards re: Divestiture

Dave Parshall to Molly Janczyk, September 29, 2007
Subject: John Edwards learns about Obama's support of divestiture
Yesterday I went to the John Edwards' campaign stop at the Plumbers & Pipefitters Union Hall here in Columbus. After the event I was able to corner John Edwards. I gave him my CORE card and told him to go after Obama’s support of divestiture. He told me he has never heard about this. I reminded him that Obama was bragging about his great plan during this week’s debate. A light seemed to off in his mind and he looked me straight in the eye and said thanks. This morning I emailed him with more details and told him we have lots of research to share with his team. He seemed to be interested. I will let you know if anything comes of this. But it could be very interesting.
Dave Parshall

RH Jones: If STRS is not a state agency, how can it be forced to divest?

RH Jones to John Curry, September 29, 2007
Subject: Re: May 30,1966...the Day Betty Montgomery opined herself and others immune from the IG's prying eyes & defined the term "state agency"
Since the Atty. Gen. Betty Montgomery in her official capacity, and as a STRS board member, ruled that her interpretation of the ORC 1.60 says that STRS is not a state agency; then, why do some of the some state & national politicians think they can force divestiture onto Ohio's retirement systems? It is, therefore, surely illegal to do so!
RHJones, my opinion

May 30,1996...the Day Betty Montgomery opined herself and others immune from the IG's prying eyes & defined the term "state agency"

From John Curry, September 28, 2007
Subject: May 30,1996...the Day Betty Montgomery opined herself and others immune from the IG's prying eyes & defined the term "state agency"

Of course...Betty was, at the time, an STRS Board member, wasn't she? In effect, by issuing this opinion, she removed many people (including herself) on all Ohio pension boards and management from the scrutiny of the Inspector General! There's nothing like opining yourself out of accountability, is there? John


From Attorney General Betty Montgomery, May 30, 1996
Opinion 96-032

Richard G. Ward
Inspector General
State Office Tower II
77 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Dear Inspector General Ward:
I have received your request for an opinion asking whether the office of Inspector General has jurisdiction to investigate the management and operation of the five state retirement systems. The office of Inspector General is authorized to investigate "state agencies" and also, upon receipt of specific complaints, to investigate state officers and state employees who work for "state agencies." See R.C. 121.42(A)-(B); R.C. 121.46; see also R.C. 121.41(E)-(F). Therefore, the threshold question presented by your request is whether the retirement systems are "state agencies."
The General Assembly has expressly defined the term "state agency" for purposes of R.C. 121.41-.50 governing the office of Inspector General. R.C. 121.41(D) provides that " [s]tate agency has the same meaning as in section 1.60 of the Revised Code but does not include any of the following: (1) The general assembly; (2) Any court; (3) The secretary of state, auditor of state, treasurer of state, or Attorney General and their respective offices." (Emphasis added.) None of the three exceptions set out in R.C. 121.41(D) apply to the state retirement systems.1 Your question therefore requires that I examine whether the retirement systems are "state agencies" as defined at R.C. 1.60. R.C. 1.60 provides that "[a]s used in Title I of the Revised Code [state government], state agency, except as otherwise provided in the title, means every organized body, office, or agency established by the laws of the state for the exercise of any function of state government."2 The concept of state agency embodied in this language of R.C. 1.60 "is appropriately understood as a governmental body or unit that exercises a function of state government on behalf of the state." 1985 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 85-089 at 2-368.
The first elements of the R.C. 1.60 definition - that the entity be statutorily created and be an organized body, office, or agency - are clearly satisfied by the retirement systems. The five state retirement systems are the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), governed by R.C. Chapter 145, the Police and Firemen's Disability and Pension Fund (PFDPF), governed by R.C. Chapter 742, the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS), governed by R.C. Chapter 3307, the School Employees Retirement System (SERS), governed by R.C. Chapter 3309, and the State Highway Patrol Retirement System (HPRS), governed by R.C. Chapter 5505. Each retirement system is expressly established by statute for the purpose of providing retirement and disability benefits to specified categories of public servants and their beneficiaries. See R.C. 145.03(A); R.C. 742.02; R.C. 3307.03; R.C. 3309.03; R.C. 5505.02. The administration and management of each retirement system is vested in a board of trustees, the composition of which is defined by statute. See R.C. 145.04; R.C. 742.03(B); R.C. 3307.04-.05; R.C. 3309.04-.05; R.C. 5505.04(A). Each board holds title to the assets of its system. See R.C. 145.09; R.C. 742.11(E); R.C. 3307.03; R.C. 3309.03; R.C. 5505.06(E). Membership in each system, the conditions for receiving benefits, and the formulas for determining the amount of any benefit due are established by statute. See generally R.C. Chapter 145; R.C. Chapter 742; R.C. Chapter 3307; R.C. Chapter 3309; R.C. Chapter 5505. The systems are funded by mandatory contributions from the member employees and their respective public employers. Contributing public employers include both state and local governmental entities. See R.C. 145.47; R.C. 145.48; R.C. 742.31; R.C. 742.33-.34; R.C. 3307.51; R.C. 3307.53; R.C. 3309.47; R.C. 3309.49; R.C. 5505.15.3 The monies of the systems are kept in statutorily designated funds, which funds are "separate and distinct legal entities" for all purposes except deposit and investment. R.C. 145.23; R.C. 145.25; R.C. 742.38; R.C. 742.39; R.C. 3307.65; R.C. 3307.66; R.C. 3309.60; R.C. 3309.61; R.C. 5505.03(A). It is apparent from this brief overview that each retirement system is established by the laws of this state and can be characterized as "a collective whole or totality...a number of particulars regarded as forming a system," or "body" as that term is commonly understood. See Webster's Third New International Dictionary 246 (unabridged ed. 1993). Thus, the first two elements of the definition of "state agency" at R.C. 1.60 are satisfied. The critical issue, therefore, with respect to satisfying the elements of the R.C. 1.60 definition, is whether the retirement systems have been established to act on the state's behalf "for the exercise of any function of state government."
The provision of retirement benefits to public employees is a means of providing for the welfare of employees generally and, in the case of school teachers and employees, also a means of providing for a public school system, both of which are recognized as matters within the authority of state government. See Ohio Const. art. II, 34; Ohio Const. art. VI; State Teachers Retirement Bd. v. Board of Tax Appeals, 177 Ohio St. 61, 62, 202 N.E.2d 418, 419 (1964) (authority to create the STRS arises from Ohio Const. art. VI); State ex rel. Bd. of Trustees of Police and Firemen's Pension Fund v. Board of Trustees of Police Relief, and Pension Fund, 12 Ohio St. 2d 105, 233 N.E.2d 135 (1967) (authority to create the PFDPF arises from Ohio Const. art. II, 34). However, the fact that the General Assembly is constitutionally authorized to provide for the creation and management of the retirement systems and that the systems serve a legitimate purpose of state government does not mean, in and of itself, that the systems have been established as "state agencies." To exercise a function of state government inherently means to act on behalf of the state in performing that function. 1985 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 85-089 at 2-368 (a state agency, as exemplified by the provisions of R.C. 1.60, "is appropriately understood as a governmental body or unit that exercises a function of state government on behalf of the state").4 The retirement systems do not exercise their statutory functions on behalf of the state. The members of the boards of the systems are expressly designated as trustees of the funds in each system and expressly charged with the duty to administer the funds "solely in the interest of the participants and beneficiaries; for the exclusive purpose of providing benefits to participants and their beneficiaries and defraying reasonable expenses of administering the system." See R.C. 145.11(B); R.C. 742.11(B); R.C. 3307.15(B); R.C. 3309.15(B); R.C. 5505.06(B). This statutorily established fiduciary relationship is inconsistent with the concept of agency. A fiduciary or trustee, by virtue of the duty to act solely in the interest of designated beneficiaries, does not function as an agent of the person or entity that created the fiduciary relationship. See, e.g., Kuck v. Sommers, 59 Ohio L. Abs. 400, 408, 100 N.E.2d 68, 75 (Ct. App. Mercer County 1950); Central Trust Co. v. McCarthy, 80 N.E.2d 821 (C.P. Hamilton County 1943), aff'd 73 Ohio App. 431, 57 N.E.2d 126 (Hamilton County 1943). See generally State ex rel. Preston v. Ferguson, 170 Ohio St. 450, 464, 166 N.E.2d 365, 375 (1960) (recognizing the trust characteristics of SERS); 1927 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 110, vol. I, p. 174, 175 (same with respect to STRS). Thus, the relationship between the state and the retirement systems is not one of agency, because the systems have not been created to exercise functions of state government on behalf of the state. Accordingly, the retirement systems are not state agencies as defined by R.C. 1.60.
It is, therefore, my opinion, and you are hereby advised, that the Inspector General has no jurisdiction to investigate the Public Employees Retirement System, R.C. Chapter 145, the Police and Firemen's Disability and Pension Fund, R.C. Chapter 742, the State Teachers Retirement System, R.C. Chapter 3307, the School Employees Retirement System, R.C. Chapter 3309, and the State Highway Patrol Retirement System, R.C. Chapter 5505, because the systems are not state agencies, as that term is defined at R.C. 121.41(D) and R.C. 1.60, for purposes of the statutes governing the powers and duties of the Inspector General.
Attorney General

The Auditor of State sits on the board of each retirement system and the Attorney General sits on the board of each system, except that of the Highway Patrol. R.C. 145.04(A), (B); R.C. 742.03(B); R.C. 3307.05; R.C. 3309.05; R.C. 5505.04(A). The Attorney General is also designated as the legal advisor of each system. R.C. 145.10; R.C. 742.09; R.C. 3307.13; R.C. 3309.13; R.C. 5505.23. The Treasurer of State is the custodian of the funds of each system. R.C. 145.26; R.C. 742.40; R.C. 3307.12; R.C. 3309.12; R.C. 5505.11. Although the Auditor of State, the Treasurer of State, and the Attorney General have these specific statutory duties with respect to the retirement systems, the retirement systems themselves do not constitute any part of the "respective offices" of the Auditor, Treasurer, or Attorney General. Thus, I conclude that the express exceptions for these officers cannot be interpreted to extend to the retirement systems as a whole.

2I note as a caveat, that even though R.C. 1.60 states that the definition of state agency therein applies to all of Title I of the Revised Code, the term state agency is not used consistently throughout Title I. For some purposes in Title I, the term itself is redefined or limited. See, e.g., R.C. 121.41(D). A determination of whether other provisions of Title I apply to a particular entity may be based on factors other than or in addition to that entity's status as a "state agency." For example, the civil service provisions of R.C. Chapter 124 apply to persons in "the service of the state," rather than to officers or employees of state agencies. R.C. 124.01; In re Ford, 3 Ohio App. 3d 416, 446 N.E.2d 214 (Franklin County 1982). Provisions of R.C. Chapter 127 relating to the controlling board apply to a state agency's use of appropriated funds, but not to the use of other types of funds. Thus, a conclusion that an entity is or is not a state agency as defined at R.C. 1.60 does not determine the extent to which any particular provision of Title I applies to that entity.

3PFDPF also receives an annual appropriation from the state, apart from any contribution that may be due from the state in its capacity as an employer. R.C. 742.36. The employer contribution for HPRS is made through a direct appropriation by the General Assembly to HPRS. R.C. 5505.15. The boards of trustees of PERS, STRS, SERS, and HPRS maintain the actuarial soundness of those systems by adjusting the required employer contributions within statutorily set limits. R.C. 145.48; R.C. 3307.53; R.C. 3309.47; R.C. 3309.49; R.C. 5505.12. For PFDPF, the Ohio Retirement Study Commission recommends necessary changes in contribution rates to the General Assembly. R.C. 742.311.

4I am aware of no case law interpreting the statutory definition of "state agency" now codified at R.C. 1.60, although it has been part of the Revised Code since 1977. See 1977-1978 Ohio Laws, Part I, 511 (Am. Sub. S.B. 221, eff. Nov. 23, 1977); see also 1985-1986 Ohio Laws, Part I, 1943 (Am. Sub. H.B. 201, eff. July 1, 1985). There are cases that have used the term state agency to describe the retirement systems in the course of analyzing other issues, but the status of the systems for purposes of R.C. 1.60 was not at issue in these cases. See, e.g., State Teachers Retirement Bd. v. Kinney, 68 Ohio St. 2d 195, 196, 429 N.E.2d 1069, 1070 (1981); In re Ford, 3 Ohio App. 3d 416, 446 N.E.2d 214 (Franklin County 1982).

May 30, 1996

Richard G. Ward
Inspector General
State Office Tower II
77 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215

SYLLABUS: 96-032

The Inspector General has no jurisdiction to investigate the Public Employees Retirement System, R.C. Chapter 145, the Police and Firemen's Disability and Pension Fund, R.C. Chapter 742, the State Teachers Retirement System, R.C. Chapter 3307, the School Employees Retirement System, R.C. Chapter 3309, and the State Highway Patrol Retirement System, R.C. Chapter 5505, because the systems are not state agencies, as that term is defined at R.C. 121.41(D) and R.C. 1.60, for purposes of the statutes governing the powers and duties of the Inspector General.

Friday, September 28, 2007

RH Jones: An invitation to support HB 315

From RH Jones, September 28, 2007
Subject: An invitation to support HB 315
To all:
At the University of Akron, fewer students are now choosing to become educators says K. Fluke, PhD. Dr. Fluke is in the position to know, as he sets on the board of the U of A Alumni association. He reports that students are usually choosing business instead.
One wonders the cause of this drop? Will there someday be public schools and not enough teachers to teach in them? The reasons are all familiar to the average person. The most recent being that in today’s Beacon where three separate violent acts on school campuses was reported. One on page B3 mentions: Buckeye teacher hit; student charged
A 15-year-old Buckeye High School student remained in custody Thursday following an assault on his English teacher that sent her to the hospital with a slight concussion….” On page A3: Canton, PA.
Five high school students were arrested after threats of violence shut down their school district for most of the week…” On page A5: “…New York: A police cadet credited with helping capture a masked student armed with a loaded rifle at St. John’s University…”
And, recently, reported by CORE members John Curry and Kathie Bracy, we have a State Superintendent here in Ohio who is further draining public school funds to favor entrepreneurial for-profit charter schools. Along with this type of tax drain away from public school districts and, after over 12 years of neglect by the state government, the school districts have tightened funding to the point that they are having difficulty meeting the higher under funded standards being set by neo-conservative political leaders.
Even with the hurtful current events mentioned above happening, some members of the School Boards Association and many local school board members incredulously do not support the modest 2.5% increase in the employer contribution earmarked for the (STRS) State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio Health Care Fund! Realistically speaking, these professional public servants deserve health care that is proper and adequate - now. House Bill 315 fulfills this quite obvious need and has been harmoniously supported by both major political parties. Therefore, any opposition would be reasonably regarded as negative to the harmony of both parties; and, consequently, negative to the harmony of those who support the two.
It has been over 20-years since the last modest increase in the employer (School District) contribution, hence HB 315 is long overdue. Regardless of a tight public school funding,
Do the right thing and support it. As a voter and as a retired STRS Ohio annuitant, this is my strong conviction.
Robert Hudson Jones, B.S.E. & M.S.E. plus 27 graduate hours

Thursday, September 27, 2007

AG Dann makes the sun shine brighter at STRS

(Click image to enlarge)
From John Curry, September 27, 2007
Subject: AG Dann makes the sun shine brighter at STRS
It was not that long ago (April 8, 2007) that the letter below was sent to Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann in reference to STRS's "secret balloting" that had been used in one of their recent "open" meetings. Many fellow CORE members felt that this secret balloting was in violation of Ohio's Open Records Act! I, and others, wrote AG Dann requesting his examination of this secretive process.
On this same day (April 8) AG Dann sent a terse reply to me (in the letter immediately below) which stated, and I quote, "We are looking at it." Well, he did and you can see from the scanned copy of the August STRS Board meeting that he also DID something about it! I was unaware of this mandate by Dann to the STRS until I opened my mail and read page "X" of the August 2007 STRS Board Meeting minutes. Page "X" of the Board minutes is the scanned copy that you will see below my letter and reply from AG Marc Dann. Thanks to AG Dann...we now have more sunshine than we used to at STRS!
John - today, a very proud CORE member
Response from Marc Dann (to letter below): We are looking at it
From: John Curry, Sun Apr 08 18:37:35 2007 Subject: secret balloting practice
April 8, 2007
Attorney General Dann
State Office Tower
30 East Broad Street, 17th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-3428
Dear Attorney General Marc Dann,
Recently, the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio conducted several “secret” ballot votes in public sessions to appoint replacements for open seats on the Ohio STRS Board.
In light of your “reform stance” concerning actions of Ohio governmental agencies and the desire to ensure that the Ohio Open Records Act is followed in both the spirit and the letter of the law, I am requesting that this practice of secret balloting in an open meeting be addressed by you. I do understand that sometimes the administration at STRS has stated that Ohio STRS is a quasi-governmental body and as such is not subject to certain statutes of the Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Administrative Code. By the same token, the Ohio STRS is funded by public tax monies in the form of employer contributions from over 600 public school systems in this state.
Would you please examine this practice of secret balloting during open meetings at Ohio STRS and inform thousands of Ohio STRS retirees as to the legality of this practice? I and my fellow retired brothers and sisters are eagerly awaiting your answer to a practice that we feel is not in the best interest of open government in the State of Ohio. Thank you.
John Curry
30 year retiree of Ohio’s public schools
Member of Concerned Ohio Retired Educators (CORE)

RH Jones: Thank you, John Curry, for your tireless efforts -- but where are OEA, OEA-R, ORTA and the others who should be doing this work?

From RH Jones, September 27, 2007
Subject: AG Dann makes the sun shine brighter at STRS
To all:
I wonder where active & retired teachers would be without the CORE volunteers like John Curry? Might I ask: Where were OEA, OEA-R, ORTA and the other unions? Why don't they monitor such problems? After all isn't that what we paid and are paying our dues for? Certain union leaders get paid to do this.
Thank you, John Curry, very much, for using your free time to work free-of-charge for our brother and sister educators!
This is my opinion,
RHJones, an extremely proud member of CORE

Ohio Fair Schools Campaign

Progress Ohio is a progressive organization that supports public education in Ohio. They strongly oppose charter schools and those who have supported charter schools.
Dear friend of public education,
The Ohio Fair Schools Campaign and are launching a "We Support Public Education" billboard contest. Students, parents, educators, administrators and community members are encouraged to submit billboard slogans that celebrate the good things happening in our public schools, schools that strive every day to educate all of our children.
The "We Support Public Education" billboard campaign is an effort to promote the positive aspects of Ohio's public education system. We want everyone to know that despite the legislative and educational challenges, Ohio students are learning.
Please help us recognize our great public schools!
PART ONE: SLOGANS Create a simple slogan that expresses your support for public education. There is no limit to the number of entries an individual may submit and the deadline is Thursday, October 4.
Please click here to submit your billboard slogan!
PART TWO: DESIGNS Once people have had a chance to vote, the winning slogans will be posted on the web. We'll ask you to use one of the winning slogans to create a billboard design. More detail on how to participate in the design part of the contest will be announced in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
Public schools are the best economic investment we can make for the future. They are working to prepare our students to be the leaders of the 21st Century.
Please click here to submit your billboard slogan!
We look forward to hearing from you with your slogan that shows your support for Ohio's public schools.
Debbie, Steve, Amy, Brian, Christina & Dave
The Ohio Fair Schools Campaign and ProgressOhio Staff

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Not to miss: special Oprah show this Thursday, 4:00 on ABC: 'Sick in America: It Can Happen to You'

This Thursday, September 27, 2007, tune in to The Oprah Winfrey Show to hear Steve Skvara, a retired steelworker serving on the Board of the Indiana Alliance of Retired Americans, talk to Oprah Winfrey about losing his pension and health insurance, and asking his now famous question, “What’s Wrong with America?”
The Oprah Winfrey Show, “Sick in America: It Can Happen to You,” will be broadcast nationally Thursday, September 27, at 4:00 pm local time (airtime in most areas) on ABC-TV affiliate stations (check your local TV program schedules for details).
“I am extremely proud of Steve for sharing his experience with the world,” said George Kourpias, President of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “This is only one example of how retirees will make our voices heard in the health care debate, and it is an important illustration of how powerful each of our stories can be.”
The broadcast will include a replay of Skvara's previously televised question, which he posed to the Democratic Presidential Candidates at the AFL-CIO’s presidential forum in Chicago, Illinois, August 7. Over one million people at home that night heard how Skvara retired from LTV Steel after he and his wife, Sandy, suffered life-altering injuries in an automobile accident. Two years after retiring, LTV filed for bankruptcy, costing him one third of his pension and all of his health care, and leaving Skvara unable to afford health insurance for his wife.
“Steve lost nearly everything when his steel mill closed. He has the spotlight, but unfortunately there are millions and millions of Steves who have lost their pensions and health care in retirement and now struggle to pay for medical care and other day-to-day expenses,” said Kourpias. “We cannot all be heard on Oprah, but we will be heard at the ballot boxes next November.”
Also on the show, guest Michael Moore will discuss his film Sicko with a health insurance lobbyist. The Oprah Winfrey Show, “Sick in America: It Can Happen to You,” will air Thursday, September 27, at 4:00 pm local time (in most areas) on ABC-TV affiliate stations (check your local TV program schedules for details).
Click here to view article and video of Steve Skvara.
Thanks to Jim McGreevy for contributing this item 9/25/07

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Change your mind, Super?

From John Curry, September 23, 2007
Change your mind, Super?

More from the Akron Beacon Journal investigative report ("Whose Choice") in 1999....check out how the then state Ohio School Superintendent (John Goff) "changed the rules."
"Who's making rules?
Brennan's range of influence stretched far beyond elected officials and reached into the inner workings of government, especially the voucher program, according to records.
After working hard for five years to carve out a voucher program, he wanted to be actively involved, records show, and he intended to keep the Department of Education out of the program.
Officially, the director of the Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program was Bert Holt, a retired Cleveland public schools administrator chosen by the Ohio Department of Education.
While Holt was supposed to report to the department, phone records and other communications obtained by the Beacon Journal show that she worked closely with Brennan and Needles, the governor's chief aide for education.
The other key state employee was Francis Rogers, a department researcher in Columbus who was responsible for designing the voucher application process and a lottery to select the winners.
Rogers wrote to his boss that something appeared to have gone wrong in Cleveland during the first lottery. He said it appeared that poor children whose names had been selected in the lottery may have been passed over for higher-income children.
He was surprised to hear about memos from Brennan to the governor's office suggesting how the lottery should be run and that he should be guaranteed access to children who were not in poverty.
In one correspondence, Brennan said his new nonprofit organization, Hope for Cleveland's Children, "should be given a printout of the scholarships (recipients) chosen so that we can assist people who will be calling in asking questions . . . "
It was an interesting request, Rogers said recently, considering Brennan was planning to open schools exclusively for voucher students. The names of lottery winners would make it easy for him to recruit customers.
Brennan also made it clear he did not want his schools to be stuck with nothing but poor children.
"The worst result I can imagine is that the new schools would be staffed completely with low-income students," he told Needles in writing. "The mixture of low-income and higher-income students is essential to the success of new schools."
Brennan got his way.
A few months into the first school year, then-Ohio school Superintendent John Goff changed the rules to allow families earning twice the rate of poverty – as much as $22,000 in a single-parent family with one child -- to be eligible."

A trip back in time to the creation of Ohio's charter schools

From John Curry, September 23, 2007
Subject: A little (no -- lots of) info & a trip back in time to the creation of Ohio's charter schools by reporters Oplinger & Willard of the Akron Beacon Journal
A click here will give educators a very detailed history of White Hat's David Brennan and his political moves in Ohio beginning in the year 1999. Many educators know the current problems caused by charter schools but I doubt they also are aware of the political background of how we got to where we are today. This is an excellent (but long) investigative report that should be read by all public school educators/retirees. I had never seen this report before but...I'm glad I now have! John

"The Ohio Board of Education, responsible for oversight, is rubber-stamping contracts as fast as it can without thoroughly reviewing the written proposals or hearing from a single charter school representative. One reason: Most board members say they have almost no authority to reject a proposal."

Jim Kimmel to Rep. Shannon Jones: Please support HB 315

From Jim Kimmel, September 22, 2007
Subject: HB 315
Dear Representative Jones:
On checking the list of sponsors and cosponsors of the very important HB 315 which would create a dedicated revenue stream for STRS health care I was disappointed to find your name was absent. This bill is extremely important for the future of education in Ohio. Without adequate healthcare for Ohio teachers in retirement the message would be sent that Ohio is not a good place to begin a teaching career. Active teachers at mid career or younger will not receive any health care in retirement without HB 315's passage NOW. Active teachers have overwhelmingly indicated their approval of HB 315. Graduates of Ohio teacher training institutions are voting with their feet by beginning their careers in other states. Others will use their degrees in other fields, lost to the teaching profession forever. If you do not vote for HB 315 how do you intend to finance health care for retired teachers? You have an obligation to answer this question for all your constituents. There can be no decent retirement without adequate health care.
The Medicare Advantage plans hatched by President Bush have been a dismal failure, and more expensive than Medicare. Shannon, many retired teachers are having to decide between their life necessary prescriptions and food. Isn't solving that problem more important than the corporate profits of insurance companies.? I am sure they are lobbying you quite often and very robustly to vote no on this issue. Greed is their motivation. This issue is one in which you will have the rare opportunity to show your true conscience as a representative of all the people. Not only the very wealthy but also those of us who spent our lives at relatively low pay educating Ohio children. We count too.
And just one other important fact: The contribution of school boards to STRS has not been increased for many, many years. Because it would be, under HB 315, distributed over five years it would not be an undue burden on any school district. It might even save money. Presently many educators are continuing to teach simply because they are afraid of the health insurance situation in retirement. . I have first hand knowledge of this from former colleagues in several districts. For every veteran teacher who retires, a school district could hire at least two newly minted ones in their place. Currently just the opposite is the case, another reason many bright young teacher candidates are voting with their feet one way or another.
Please vote for and support HB 315 so that I can vote for you next time..
James O. Kimmel, M.Ed
Mason, Ohio STRS
Retiree since 1994
Ohio Air National Guard 1963-1969
Proud CORE Member

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