The problem is enormous, and it's one state lawmakers have ignored for going on two decades, choosing political infighting andbackstabbing and a do-nothing approach rather than addressing the issue of public education.
And public education in Ohio has suffered greatlyand will continue to be diminished until it finally dies on the vine.
Ohio's potential to once again be a strong economic force could be lost for decades if bold and decisive action is not undertaken.
And one place to start in earnest is to reform themonster bureaucracy the more than 600 school districts in the state create and begin the process of consolidation.
Combining school districts will happen whether or not state leaders plan for it, because the state's unconstitutional method of financing our schools will not sustain public education in the years to come.
There isn't a school district in the entire state that has a secure financial future or any concretefinancial survival plan.
The duplication of services and the wasteful expenditures associated with multiple districtscovering small areas and decreasing studentpopulations cannot continue.
Voters in school districts across the state have made it fairly clear they will not support new tax levies without reform of the system.
Just last week, residents in the Margaretta school district voted down a desperately needed new money levy by a margin of almost 2-1, and three other local school districts failed to get voter support for new tax money.
It's likely Margaretta Schools will be unable to operate as an independent district within just a few short years.
Plain and simple, it just makes no sense to sit back and wait for Armageddon when leaders could plan for a better and more prosperous future.
But state lawmakers have shown they do not have the gravitas to tackle what is without argument one of the most important issues the state faces, so the responsibility falls on education leaders, both in Columbus and locally, to develop a plan and build a new public education system in the five-county region and across the state.
Do it now, before it's too late.