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Report Says Ohio Needs to Invest More in K-12 Schools

photo of Melissa Cropper
Melissa Cropper, President of Ohio Federation of Teachers, speaks on March 4, 2019.

Ahead of Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s first State of the State speech, a progressive-leaning coalition of health and human service organizations and labor unions said Ohio is falling behind the rest of the nation in some key areas. The One Ohio Now report said the state has not invested enough in schools, health and community safety. 

Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper said just over half of Ohio’s K-12 students are economically disadvantaged, an increase of 37 percent in the past decade. She noted the percentage of homeless students has more than doubled and the percentage of students in foster care has risen by more than half. But while the needs have increased, state money hasn’t.

“In 2018, funding for Ohio’s school districts fell by $610 million, a 6.7 percent drop from a high in 2010, forcing an over-reliance on property taxes which has been declared unconstitutional four times," Cropper said.

The One Ohio Now report recommends the state close tax loopholes. It also suggests income and business taxes on those most able to pay, be increased, something that is unlikely to happen in the Republican-dominated state government.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.