Saturday, October 06, 2007

RH Jones: Retired teachers support school levies

From RH Jones, October 6, 2007
To all:
Critics, of those of us who support the State Teacher’s Retirement System (STRS) health care (HC) increase in the House Bill 315, fail to understand that we STRS retirees generally are supportive of school levies. Statistics bear that out. Some of those educators in nursing homes may not be able to, but those of us STRS retired members who are able: vote.
Professional teachers have demonstrated, over our 30-yr.& + careers, a genuine dedication to the education service of the public’s children, no matter their background. Therefore, even though many of us in retirement cannot afford tax increases, conscientiously, how could we not support school levies? I always have.
It saddens me to think that the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) has voted to oppose the modest employer 2.5% increase phased over a 5-yr. period. And, I apologize for perhaps not doing a better job in teaching thousands of 6th grade Akron (APS) children better civics, sound business practices and empathy for the elderly – Seven APS board members came out against HB315 (Beacon,10/11/07). I wonder if one, or two, may be an ex-student of mine? And does the APS board realize that the two GREAT past superintendents, that guided the district through very tough times, deserve HC in their retirement too? The present super superintendent deserves retirement HC as well. The APS has always had tremendous staffing; Without HB315, will they in the future?
Anyway, to protect dogs, recently, the HB22 just passed. For Ohio retired educators, including retired superintendents, school boards can, at least, absorb in HB315 a modestly increased assessment to honor those who served their children and them. To do otherwise is to cause even further damage to Ohio’s children. That makes me wonder: Does the Ohio PTA approve of the OSBA hurtful vote? To their credit, the PTA fought Charter schools - of which there are now 350 in Ohio sucking up public tax dollars away from Ohio School Districts. The ultra-conservative OSBA sat by quietly.
If Ohio is to prosper now and in the future, it must bear the expense to provide the funding to place America’s best educators in their public school systems. Good HC in retirement is essential in that attraction. As an elderly 76-yr. old, my advice is to take the time be careful whom you vote for on local and state boards of education. It is fundamental to Ohio’s success.
That is my opinion,
Robert Hudson Jones, a retired APS teacher

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Just a little 'ol audit on a little 'ol Ohio charter school

A Columbus charter school might have violated Ohio’s ethics laws when the director hired her niece as an employee and a board member was hired as a contractor, a state audit released today says.

The school, Chase Academy for Communication Arts, at 1533 Cleveland Ave., also was not a nonprofit corporation, as required by law, meaning its state education aid could go to pay state and federal taxes, according to the audit of the school year that ended in June 2006.

The audit says school Director Celia Jones paid her niece $2,250 to be an administrative assistant and paid a board member $15,000 for pupil transportation and food services.

School officials, including Jones, have reimbursed the school $9,839 as a result of the audit.

The audit says Chase Academy violated other state requirements by:

Reimbursing Jones and other school officials $3,441 without any documentation as to why.

Allowing Jones to solely approve reimbursing herself $18,688 for gasoline, a van rental, classroom supplies and other items.

Presenting auditors with altered or “created” invoices for $23,640 of payments, “fraudulent actions which could lead to inaccurate reports.”

Paying employees, including Jones, amounts not in accordance with their approved rates of pay. Auditors found that 17 percent of the payroll transactions tested were paid in error.

Not keeping accurate personnel files: 32 percent of employees didn’t have current employment contracts, 82 percent had not completed state retirement forms, and 4 percent had not compled tax-withholding forms.

Borrowing $18,000 without authorization or review from the board. Only Jones agreed to the loan, and she wrote checks and used a debit card on the school’s account with no board review or approval.

Failing to ensure that its treasurer was bonded.

Failing to submit a five-year financial forecast.

Not having documentation on how $2,774 was spent.

Purchasing a $51 YMCA membership for a teacher and three students related to that teacher.

Jones could not immediately be reached for comment. In the audit, the school generally responded to the findings by saying it has made changes and tightened its procedures.

A letter to Rep. Clifford Hite

To the Honorable Clifford Hite
The Ohio House of Representatives
October 4, 2007
Dear Rep. Hite,
Would you please explain your position as a co-sponsor of HB 151, which calls for Ohio's pension systems to divest millions of dollars of retirees' funds? I believe you, a retired teacher and coach, are a member of my pension system, STRS. Knowing this, I REALLY don't understand your position! I'm sure you must have a good explanation. I would like to hear it, as would thousands of our fellow retired educators.
We particularly need to know why only retirees, the one segment of Ohio's population which has very little chance to increase their incomes, are being singled out in this bill. Why isn't this being handled in a fair and equitable manner -- divesting from the pockets of ALL Ohioans? The only thing I can think of is that you must be a lot wealthier than the rest of us and can well afford to play politics with this bill -- to the detriment of many thousands of retirees in this state.
With respect, I await your response in a timely manner. I wrote to you some time ago about this, but did not receive a response. Thank you.
Kathie Bracy
Retired Ohio teacher
(Address, phone #)
Columbus, OH

Time for OSBA to carry the ball

From RH Jones, October 4, 2007
Subject: To all4
To all:
Retirees can't carry districts.
The STRS retired members have carried public school districts for the past 7 yrs. and longer. For the sake of Ohio’s children and their teachers, it is time the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) carried that weight. If the lack of OSBA foresight was corrected, and they progressively face the challenge of providing funds to the STRS for retired educator health care (HC), the problem can be solved. Presently, Ohio law does not require STRS HC. Long overdue, for over 20 yrs., House Bill 315 will change that.
Mistakenly, an overly conservative OSBA sat quietly by while billions of dollars of public school funds were diverted into the pockets of for–profit charter school entrepreneurs. Retired public educators understood that scarce and limited public education operation dollars were diverted. And money to fund the STRS was diverted as well. Therefore, is it no wonder that the quality of education for student has gone down and money is tight? Without a properly educated public work force, high tech businesses that require an educated work force are, and will, exit the state. Quality teachers will follow their lead. Supporting HB 315 the OSBA can, in part, correct this wrong.
On 10/02/07, I received an answer to my e-mail to Rick Lewis, the Exec. Dir. of the OSBA. He stated in part: “…However, our association’s legislative position, as prescribed by more than 700 boards of education through a delegate assembly, remains clearly and firmly opposed…”. Why are so many, so wrong? As age demographics have changed in the 20 or more years since the present employer 14% contribution to the STRS has been in effect, expensive elderly educators remain in their positions longer; therefore, to oppose HB 315 will only bring added expenses to School Districts. Therefore, why not, now, divert the consequential longevity funding into funds to grow an adequate HC for encouragement of educator retirement? I humbly ask that Mr. Lewis, as Executive Director, to make a change of heart, and to take the lead to promote this vital HB 315. The STRS cannot provide adequate HC without this bill’s passage.
It is a surprise to me that a majority of responsible OSBA members would make such a shortsighted opposing position. Without this bill, it is beyond the STRS capacity to generate enough interest income to sustain a HC program for its members. Certainly, in light of the publication of recent STRS Ohio HC solutions, the OSBA needs to reconvene and take another vote.
Active and retired educators, you can get the attention of the OSBA, the Exec. Dir., et al. by going on the Internet to: Ohio School Boards Association. The website will then appear. Rich Lewis can be reached and the Legislative Specialist, et al. Or just go to: or
A surprised retired elementary teacher,
Robert Hudson Jones

John Curry: Hey Cliff, I'm still waiting!

From John Curry, October 4, 2007
Hey Cliff, I'm still waiting!
Well, it's been over one month and MY Representative (Cliff Hite-76th Ohio House District) has been non-communicative with me concerning the correspondence below. It's a shame this guy is a retired educator and won't even communicate with a voter of his very own House District. You, your friends, and family might want to remember this the next time he runs for public office. John
From John Curry, August 27, 2007
Subject: NW Ohio (House District 76) and a co-sponsor of HB 151 IS A RETIRED TEACHER!!!!!!
Those of you (including me) in NW Ohio who live in Ohio House District might want to contact Rep. Cliff Hite re. his co-sponsorship of HB 151...this is especially critical since he IS A RETIRED TEACHER AND COACH!!!!!!!!! I already sent him a copy of my open letter to Mr. reply.... ( I'm STILL WAITING). I'm sure he got the didn't come back. With a few additional notes from you... Cliff will get a real message...he might even begin to understand the concept that HB 151 is an unfair burden to place upon STRS stakeholders (INCLUDING HIS VERY OWN RETIREMENT SYSTEM)! Thanks, John
If you click on the red link below you will get a pop up email to send Cliff your sentiments re. 151.
Cliff Hite R Findlay Retired teacher and coach and Cosponsor of HB 151

A retiree speaks out

From Mary Woolford, October 4, 2007
Subject: Re: Are you mad that Bush vetoed the SChip program? Well, you can do something about it; see link below
I support Bush in his veto of this bill. [See item below] There are details that he has looked at very carefully and others are failing to see what the eventual effect of such a bill would be for Americans down the road. I am not prepared to debate this issue, but I trust the counsel that Bush has received and trust him to want to give only the best to this country. It saddens me to see such a divided Congress who are using serious issues such as health care as a political football.
This is only one of the myriad of problems Congress and Bush disagree about. The short-sighted idiots in Congress that are bent on destroying a president that has given his best to protect Americans both at home and abroad, has my prayers and full support, as he tries to do his best with the time that he has to finish his term in office. Have mistakes been made? Of course, by both the president and Congress. But the biggest mistake is the lack of support shown to our leaders during this time of war.
I was ten when W.W. II began, and I well remember how this country pulled together to support our soldiers, worked around the clock to supply our troops with guns, ammunition, tanks, planes, and all the rations needed to feed them. Today's bickering in Congress is shameful and unpatriotic. President Bush has my sincere prayers that he can manage to lead the people to the best of his ability, in spite of the shameful behavior displayed by our members of Congress.
Wise up, and see the unpatriotic and bi-partisan, despicable actions by some of our congressional leaders as they continue trying to destroy Bush. If they weren't so blinded with their hate for him, they could make an effort to see the long-range effects of bad decisions. May God have mercy on the dissenters and the subversive movement to undermine all the good that caring Americans are working hard to bring about.
October 3, 2007
From Brian Rothenburg,
You would think on this they would make an exception.
We know that Senator George Voinovich (R-OH), Congressmen John Boehner (R-West Chester) and Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati) don't have much of a history breaking ranks with President Bush. But wouldn't you think when it comes to taking care of children's health care, they could show a little independence?
Today, President Bush vetoed renewal of a 10-year old program to cover health care of Ohio children that passed with bi-partisan votes in both the Senate and U.S. House.
In Ohio, Governor Ted Strickland and GOP legislative leaders Jon Husted and Jim Harris all agreed in June they not only liked the SCHIP program - they wanted to expand it to more kids.
Here's where you come in: We need your help to change enough congressional "no" votes into "yes" to override Bush's veto.
Three things you can do now:
1. Call Voinovich, Boehner, and Chabot today and demand that they do the right thing: Stand with Ohio's families, and vote to override Bush's veto.
Senator George Voinovich: DC Office: (202) 224-3353
Congressman John Boehner: Toll-free: (800) 582-1001
Congressman Steve Chabot: DC Office: (202) 225-2216
2. Click here to sign our online petition expressing your outrage over Bush's Backwards policy: Billions for the Iraq War, But a Veto For Kids' Health Care.
3. Come make your voice heard in person Thursday afternoon at 1:30 PM.
COLUMBUS: Sign Up To Attend
Progress Ohio Office
251 S. 3rd St. Columbus, OH 43215 Speakers:
Mary Wachtel, Director of Public Policy, Voices for Ohio's Children
Nick Bates, Youth Empowerment Program
CINCINNATI: Sign-Up To Attend
Federal Building (on the sidewalk out front)
550 Main St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Speaker: Sister Alice Gerdeman, Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center
We will walk over to Steve Chabot's office to join a protest there in partnership with

HB 315 sent to Committee!

From John Curry, October 4, 2007
Wonder how long HB 315 (increased contributions for healthcare for Ohio's active and retired educators) will languish in the "FIRES" Committee.... Financial Institutions, Real Estate, and Securities? Will it lie there 'till Husted decides to bring it back up for a House vote? Don't hold your breath.... that could be never! I'll give ORTA credit for this entry (click on the link below the FIRES Committee) in their website.
Who is on the FIRES committee? Here they might want to light a fire under them...or just maybe send them an email letting them know how important this bill is to us! Just click on their names to write to them. John
Financial Institutions, Real Estate and Securities
Vice Chair
J. Stewart
Ranking Minority Member
D. Stewart
S. Williams

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Divestment will hurt retirees!

From John Curry, October 3, 2007

From our educator retiree friend in Colorado...she's not afraid to speak her piece! This article appeared in the Rocky Mountain News. This concept (divestment) also applies to ALL Ohio public service retirees. If Josh Mandel's HB 151 is pulled out of committee and put before the Ohio Legislature for a vote by House Speaker Jon Husted we all (Ohio public retirement systems) stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars!
Divestment plan will hurt PERA retirees
Thursday, September 20, 2007

"I read with interest the Sept. 16 Speakout column, “It’s imperative that Colorado divest from Iran,” written by four esteemed Colorado legislators. The “Colorado” of the headline, in this instance, is in reference to Colorado PERA. Nowhere in this column did I find the same level of concern expressed for these same investments made by banks, brokerage and investment firms, business and labor pension funds, or even private individuals and legislators.
Why would a divestment bill only target PERA and no other such person or entity? Furthermore, divestment bills only target defined-benefit plans for divestment, not defined-contribution plans, which must only add one “clean” fund. One can only assume that as soon as these high-yield stocks are divested from PERA’s defined-benefit plan, they can and will be quickly purchased by any one person and any entity ... with the exception of Colorado’s PERA defined-benefit plan.
Since these divested stocks will continue to be listed on the stock market in this era of globalization, the only ones who will suffer are those teachers, policemen, firemen and public servants who have invested their lifelong savings in Colorado’s PERA defined-benefit plan.
Let’s trust our managers, board of trustees and shareholders/investors to make the correct financial decisions for Colorado’s PERA defined-benefit plan. That’s our responsibility! And our life savings!"

Cheryl Flagg
PERA retiree
Steamboat Springs

Columbus teachers are fighting back!

Columbus Dispatch, October 2, 2007

Teachers union points IRS at conservatives

Columbus teachers are fighting back against Republican mayoral candidate William M. Todd, and this time they're getting the IRS involved.

The Columbus Education Association has asked the IRS to review the tax-exempt status of the conservative Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, alleging that the local free market think tank broke the law with a "clear pattern of political campaign coordination" before Todd sued Columbus City Schools last month.

Todd filed a lawsuit Sept. 17 claiming that the district violates children's rights by spending thousands of dollars more per-student at some of its schools. He based the suit on a Buckeye Institute report released three days later.

The teachers union contends Todd's campaign and the think tank shared information and documents before and after that week.

Buckeye Institute President David Hansen said in a statement today that his organization "engages" all sorts of policymakers but doesn't support political parties or candidates.

"The Buckeye Institute will not be intimidated by union bullies who seek to silence opposing points of view," he said.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

CORE visits legislators re: HB 315

CORE president Dave Parshall with vice president Mary Ellen Angeletti and trustee Chuck Angeletti after their October 2, 2007 visit with State Representatives Larry Flowers and Kevin Bacon, hoping to gain support for the passage of HB 315. Photographed by your friendly blogger, Kathie Bracy, who accompanied the trio on their visit.
Posted by Picasa

John Curry responds to post on Jill Zimon's blog, 'Writes Like She Talks'

Click here to view the original post and subsequent responses.
From John Curry, October 1, 2007
I appreciate Josh Mandel’s service to our country and detest terrorism as much as my fellow Buckeyes. I must add that I also detest (with equal compassion) a bill that (as written) does not require banks, investment houses, and every Ohio citizen to equally share in the sacrifice of divestiture. My retirement system’s (STRS Ohio) chief investments officer, Stephen Mitchell, estimates that a Mandel enforced divestment will cost our system between 70 and 100 million dollars to implement. This money is direly needed for a system who charges a retiree and spouse more than $600 monthly healthcare premiums while some retirees are making the choice between food or medicine.
If this divestment is to remain fair to ALL Ohioans then it must equally affect ALL Ohioans…not just the stakeholders of Ohio’s public pension systems and then..just those who have monies in the defined benefits retirements of these systems. Why doesn’t Josh’s bill apply to all Ohioans and Ohio businesses enterprises?
Also, Why does Israel not have mandatory divestment with companies doing business with Iran despite Israel’s former Prime Minister’s appearances in the U.S. to pressure divestment by U.S. public retirement systems and no other U.S. public entities? Why doesn’t Benjamin practice what he preaches on the home front?
John Curry

Meet Jarrod Weiss, candidate for the Columbus Board of Education

From Jarrod Weiss, October 2, 2007
I sincerely believe that Columbus cannot become a vibrant, prosperous city where people call home, make their lives, and raise their family without a world-class public education system.
A life-long resident of Columbus and a proud graduate of Columbus City Schools, I believe we can make our school system world-class and ensure that the children of today and tomorrow have the tools and knowledge needed to succeed.
What makes me think that a 25-year-old Columbus native, graduate of Columbus City Schools and The Ohio State University, can make the changes needed to bring our school district back to prominence? Simple. Passion, dedication and the ability to succeed.
I have spent the past three years as a public policy designer (fancy term for Legislative Aide) with the Ohio House of Representatives. I know how policy works and I understand what it takes to not only develop good legislation, but can see into the future and understand how the decisions we make are going to affect us on the production side of the equation.
Not only do I have a background in creating and implementing policy, but I have a desire to ensure that the children of Columbus City Schools are given all the opportunity in the world to succeed -- just as I had as a Columbus City student. I volunteer with my high school's theatre department, tutor 3rd, 4th and 5th graders in the State Proficiency tests at Innis Elementary School, and I am taking classes that will one day (hopefully) lead to my becoming a high school social studies teacher or higher education administrator.
Now, just because I have the passion and experience doesn't mean that's the end of the road. Let's talk ideas. I can break my platform into three segments -- Innovation and Creativity, Opportunity and Experiences, and Involvement and Outreach.
Innovation and Creativity: We must use technology and innovation to find creative ways to manage our school district. It is important that we cut costs at the administrative level, streamline our services, and become an efficient manager of the district. No more spending needless amounts of taxpayer money on overpaid administrators and wasteful practices. If we can become fiscally responsible, we can save funds and divert those funds where they are needed most -- classrooms and in the hands of teachers. We don't need to ask for more bonds and levies. We need to stop spending needlessly and use our money wisely. In addition, not only should the Board be the entity that sets the mission and vision for the school district, but we must demand accountability from our administration. We cannot be a Board of "yes-men". We must ensure that the goals we have set forth are being reached and if not we need to correct those problems and correct them now.
Opportunity and Experiences: We all know that one of the biggest challenges we face is the loss of students to Charter Schools. The fact is that most charter schools fare just as well, if not worse, academically than CCS. So, why are we losing those students? It comes down to opportunity and experiences. When I was in school (both secondary and post-secondary) the thing that made my academic experience as positive as it was were the opportunities I had out of the classroom. We need to make sure we stand out from Charter Schools and Suburban Schools. We need to protect and expand our arts, after-school, and extracurricular activities. We need to expand the experiences that our students receive outside of the classroom. Studies show that students in the arts and other extracurricular programs do better academically and we must protect these opportunities.
Involvement and Outreach: I am a guy who likes to be involved, who likes to "get my hands dirty". As a school board we need to be involved in the lives of our schools, our students, and our teachers. That means being an actively involved school board. Attending sporting events, art programs, teacher meetings, professional development seminars, PTA gatherings, etc., should be a major part of our duties. We also need to do a better job of involving teachers, students and community members in our process. We need to seek their input and allow them to become engaged in the work of the school district. Involvement is a two-way street and it starts with the school board leading by example.
This is an opportunity for me to give back to the school district that gave me the tools and opportunities to succeed. We have the ability to make our schools world-class. Our teachers, our parents, our students, are all thirsty for leadership and are waiting for their chance to shine. We need to give them that opportunity and as the next member of the Columbus Board of Education I can tell you that it will happen.
There will be more posts to come on my ideas on how to transform Columbus City Schools into a world-class education system.

VOTE for WEISS for Columbus Board of Education

Monday, October 01, 2007

RH Jones: Retired Educator Health Care a Must

From RH Jones, October 1, 2007
Subject: Retired Educator Health Care a Must
To all:
Support for the Health Care Initiative Solution (HCIS) is essential to the Ohio’s economy.
As reported in the media the last couple of days, college loans are very expensive for students. And federal law allows for the garnishee of wages for unpaid college loans. This comes at a time when fewer students major in education. During future education students' active teaching years, could low pay, and when retirement time comes around, the threat of an end to educator HC be a negative attraction factor? Certainly good pay and a secure retirement with a State Teachers Retirement System (STRS), that not only offers a good pension income, along with good HC, can most certainly attract and retain top student achievers in the teaching profession. Having continually raised Ohio teacher certification factors, the public has shown to want the best for their children.
Recently, a wise Bowling Green State University professor, Kay Strong, was quoted, as saying she was optimistic Americans eventually will thrive in the new high tech economy. “Education is Paramount”. And a researcher Alan Tonelson, who is with the U.S. Business & Industry Council, adds, “Low-income countries for the past 10-years, at least, have been working frantically to push their own workers up the knowledge and skills ladder.”
Wise Ohioans in every corner of the state have been clamoring for the business community to understand the importance of tax supported public schools and all will profit from it. Profit is not a dirty word in our public school districts; ignorance is!
While employed educators teach without a steady funding stream for retirement HC, violence in and around schools continues to cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD - It is reported daily in our newspapers. HC coverage for PTSD, along with the large number of health problems caused by the stress of educating our youths, there is no question about it: HC is a continuing need for Ohio’s retired educators.
The above are facts, as I know them,
RHJones, a STRS Ohio retired member

Lantern editorial re: Columbus mayoral race

From John Curry, October 1, 2007
Subject: OSU Lantern opines re. Columbus mayoral race
"His reasons for this bashing probably have less to do with the education of Columbus' children and more to do with making money for School Choice Ohio, the nonprofit advocacy group of which Todd is the assistant vice president. Todd received $12,000 from the group after he helped get it started in the state of Delaware." OSU Lantern Editorial 10/1/07
Click here to view entire column.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Some health care facts for educators

Some health care facts for educators
Health Care Champions / Health Care Initiative
Power Point Bullet Points:
STRS Health Care Program covers retirees and disabled members.
· STRS provides a premium subsidy for members only; spouses pay full cost of premium.
· Non Medicare for 2007:
30 year service retiree cost is $651 of which STRS pays $488.
Spouse pays full cost of $581.
15 year service retiree pays $407 and $581 for spouse.
Retiree with a covered spouse pays $744-$988 per month.
· Medicare for 2007:
30 year retiree pays $67, spouse $301 = $368 per month.
· STRS is not required to provide retirees with health care coverage.
· STRS Health Care Program (SHCP) is currently financed by:
--- 1% of employer's contribution.
--- Revenues earned from investment of the money in the fund.
--- Premiums paid by members.
· The Health Care Stabilization Fund (HCSF) began in 1984. $5.4 billion has been allocated since 1984.
· STRS is spending $1.3 a day to pay our SHCP costs.
· The fund stands at $4 billion dollars today.
· There is no ongoing dedicated revenue stream for SHCP.
· In 2009 STRS will start to use the principal in the fund to pay costs.
· Contributions to STRS currently limited by law:
--- 10% from members.
--- 14% from employers (the amount has not changed
in 23 years).
· 1% of the employer's contributions go to HCSF.
The Crises at Hand / Another 5% is Needed to Sustain the HCSF for the long term!
· The Health Care Initiative Solution
--- Cost shared by both employers, and active teachers.
--- Employers will contribute 2.5%, and active teachers
will pay 2.5% of the needed 5% increase.
--- These costs will be phased in over five years at .5% a
year. These contributions will be permanent.
--- At the end of the five year phase-in a teacher
earning $40,000 a year will pay $40 per mouth.
--- The new dedicated revenue stream will generate
$94 million for the HCSF, and about $500 million a
year by the end of the phase-in period.
Benefits / Consequences
· Help employers recruit and retain valued career educators
· Help employers manage workforce, accompanying payroll, and health care costs.
If Initiative Fails
· You will have skyrocketing HC premiums after 2009, and eventually No Health Care Benefits.
· Educators will have to bargain for large salaries to be able to save for health care in retirement.
· Educators will have to work well into their 60's, 70's or longer, which will greatly increase school districts health care costs.
· The State of Ohio, and Ohio's taxpayers will have a huge problem with hundreds of thousands uninsured seniors educators.
Go to click on the link to
Once connected to the Health Champions webpage Click on Online Resources; then Click on Frequently Asked Questions About the Initiative. You will find more complete discussions about key points. The bottom line is that the pension fund is not a dedicated source of revenue now or in the near future for our health care. They are separate funds, and health care is not guaranteed by law. STAY on message!

White Hat Jr. wants to ride the Central City range... & also wants to send all your little buckaroos to charter schools!

Passion rejected as politics
Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mayoral debate

The Dispatch will sponsor a debate Wednesday between Democrat Michael B. Coleman and Republican challenger William M. Todd.

It starts at noon at the

Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe, 1421 Olentangy River Rd.,

and will be streamed on the Web at and and broadcast on the radio at WOSU (820 AM).

The debate is hosted by the Columbus Metropolitan Club. Ticket information is available at

The mayor of Columbus builds sidewalks. He makes sure trash is picked up. He gets a lot of grief when snow isn't plowed.

So why is one of the men running for the job this year spending so much time talking about schools?

Republican William M. Todd has called for a City Hall takeover of Columbus City Schools. He has sued the district over the amount of money it spends on students in different parts of town. He now is running an ad on radio urging parents to send their children elsewhere.

And he gets tears in his eyes sometimes when he talks about it.

"At this point in my life, it certainly would be easier to sit back and enjoy a comfortable practice of law," said the 54-year-old Downtown lawyer, longtime GOP insider and first-time political candidate.

Sitting in the Starbucks at Broad and High, he became misty-eyed again Thursday morning when asked why the issue moves him to tears. In two previous interviews and at a June news conference, Todd has gotten emotional when talking about children in poorly performing schools.

"It really doesn't have anything to do with personal ambition," he said. "You can sit back your whole life and complain about how things aren't as good as they should be, or you can step up and try to make a difference."

Democrats don't believe him for an instant.

Between January and June -- a time when education began climbing on his priority list -- Todd's biggest individual campaign donor was David L. Brennan, an Akron businessman who runs Ohio's biggest for-profit operator of charter schools.

Todd listed himself in a February filing with the state as assistant vice president of School Choice Ohio, a nonprofit advocacy group that shares a State Street address and registered lobbyist with Brennan's White Hat Management.

Todd earned $12,000 from School Choice Ohio when he helped incorporate the group in the state of Delaware.

In those ties, critics see sinister motives.

"Him bringing up education has nothing to do with bettering public education," said Columbus school-board member W. Carlton Weddington, who has fired back hardest for the Democrats. "It's an agenda he's pushing to help those who are donating to his campaign."

Mayor Michael B. Coleman's campaign has been more dismissive. Supporters of Coleman, a Democrat, point out repeatedly that Todd has never lived within Columbus City Schools boundaries -- his Northwest Side home is in the Worthington district -- and suggest the Republican might be more interested in a school-board seat than the mayor's office.

Coleman himself said he prefers "practical partnerships" to Todd's takeover. He talks about a "positive impact" that contrasts with Todd's legal confrontation. The Republican filed suit Sept. 17 on behalf of five district residents, saying that differences in per-student funding from school to school violate the Ohio Constitution.

"I would much rather spend money in a classroom than a courtroom," Coleman said.

The mayor of Columbus has no official role in Columbus schools or any of the other 10 school districts within city limits. Todd calls that an accident of history that needs to be corrected. The health of cities depends too heavily on schools for the two to be governed separately, he says.

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