VANDALIA — The Vandalia-Butler City Schools say the State of Ohio owes the taxpayers of the school district over $5 million in funds lost to charter schools.
A resolution authorizing the Treasurer to invoice the state for the funds was passed unanimously at last week’s regular board meeting.
The resolution cites Article VI of the Ohio Constitution and Ohio law which says “the board of education of each school district shall be the sole authority in determining and selecting academic curriculum.”
Board members charge that the state hasn’t funded the district at the established foundation level and futher charge that the district has been forced to spend local tax dollars on “state-level initiatives without local input.”
“Next year, we will be sending over $600,000 to charter schools next year,” said Board President Bruce Sucher. “School choice is a good thing, but it can’t be a false choice.”
Charter school reform has been a hot topic in the Ohio Statehouse and has put Ohio in the national spotlight. The Washington Post cited Ohio’s “scandal-ridden charter school sector” and “budget cuts for traditional public schools at the same time as increased funding for charter schools” in a scathing piece by Valerie Strauss last month.
Last year, David Hansen, the chief of school choice at the Ohio Department of Education, was forced to resign for leaving failing grades for charter schools out of evaluations for oversight agencies.
Board of Education member George Moorman said school choice is a good thing, but there needs to be a “happy medium.”
“I like choices, and we want all of our parents to have choices on how to educate their kids,” said Moorman. “As a public school we have a problem and we need to have a happy medium. Where that line should be is hard to determine but this (resolution) can help.”
The Board also approved accepting donations to four projects from the VISIONS Endowment Fund.
VISIONS supports expanded learning opportunities for students in the school district that are not typically covered by the district’s general fund.
VISIONS Trustee Denny Dyer made the presentations which were:
- $3,500 to Demmitt Elementary School teacher Amber Pelfrey for an entire school (K-3) trip to the Cincinnati Zoo and research projects;
- $1,500 to Butler High School teacher Tara Landis to be used for purchasing adaptive art supplies and equipment for students with multiple disabilities;
- $600 Orville M. Cotterman Grant to the Vandalia-Butler Preschool and teacher Denise Treadway towards a color printer and supplies
- $600 Orville M. Cotterman Grant to the Vandalia-Butler Preschool and teacher Denise Treadway for a “Growing a Healthy Class” event.
Other donations received by the board were:
- Clothing and 25 pairs of gloves valued at $50 from Peggy Bush to Demmitt Elementary students;
- $400 from McDonald’s to Helke Elementary from McTeacher Night;
- An American Flag from VFW Post 9582 to replace the flag at the Board Office.
The board also approved a settlement agreement with Reiter Dairy, LLC in the amount of $10,257.89. The settlement was negotiated on behalf of several districts by the Southwestern Ohio Educational Purchasing Council.
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.