• Supt. Celico It’s hard to believe that we are in the home stretch of another school year. Soon we will be watching another group of scholars walk across the stage as they begin the next phase of their lives.

    As we continue to work hard in the Bedford City Schools, we have others that are working hard for our students around the state, as it has been a busy season for lawmakers. With that said, I believe it is important to inform you of some important bills that are being introduced. First, it looks as though both political parties want to start over with the school report card. They aren’t interested in revising it, but rather suggest putting $15 million into the overhaul of the report card, stating that the validity of it is in question and that it is detrimental to school districts. It has been a long time coming, but superintendents, community members, parents, and city officials have finally gained the attention of the legislators who are acknowledging that letter grades are deceptive and shouldn’t be trusted.

    The controversial Academic Distress Commission (HB 70) has been the center of attack from districts around the state. This bill allows districts to be taken over by the state, removing almost all local control and authority from the board of education and the superintendent. You may have heard about Lorain, East Cleveland, and Youngstown Schools who have fallen victim to this law. To combat this, bills are being introduced, ranging from “cease and desist” to modifying the composition and operation of an academic distress commission and providing additional state support to the school district. The Bedford Board of Education passed a resolution to show its solidarity, as it joined many other districts across the state in solidarity against HB 70.

    School funding has come the furthest I have seen since I have entered education 23 years ago! As you know, school funding was ruled unconstitutional several times in the state of Ohio, yet we continue to violate the law with no consequence. Cupp and Patterson (bipartisan Congressmen) have worked collaboratively on a bill with superintendents and treasurers around the state to revamp the school funding formula. The working group really looked at what students need in the 21st century, not in the 1990’s when the formula was originally created. The need for supports, operations, safety, transportation, technology, and social-emotional supports are all pertinent today, much greater than in the past. As a result, the proposed formula addresses those areas and looks at what students need to be educated adequately, not at the cost of it. In short, 82% of the districts across the state do not fall under the current funding formula! That in itself tells us the formula is flawed. The work of the committee has been released and as presented, if this bill is passed, our district would receive $1.6 million more in revenue!

    Naturally, there are many obstacles ahead, but we are hopeful that something will be done to address the inequity in funding of districts and the overreliance on property taxes, which contributes to the inequity. We are asking our communities to back their plan, as it strives to ensure that Ohio’s children will have quality educational opportunities no matter their zip codes. Together we can adopt a comprehensive, fair school funding plan that meets the needs of Ohio’s children, future workforce, and economy.