COLUMBUS – Gov. Ted Strickland yesterday laid out a dramatic series of new spending proposals and budget cuts in the first State of the State speech by a Democratic governor in almost two decades.
Strickland proposed eliminating the state’s school voucher program except for the Cleveland program, giving record funding increases for Ohio public universities and ending a tax break for gasoline producers to save money in a budget that will shrink state spending next year.
Among his education goals, Strickland wants a moratorium on new charter schools and a ban on for-profit management companies running charter schools.
Concerned about the state’s high tuition costs, Strickland will recommend record funding increases for public colleges and universities in exchange for no tuition increases next year and only 3 percent the following year.
Strickland called for large increases in the state share of education funding, including a 7 percent increase in funding to close gaps between rich and poor schools.
His plan would boost the state share of education to 54 percent, the biggest portion since the state’s school-funding system was repeatedly declared unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court.
Thomas J. Mertz