REGISTER VIEWPOINT: Control our schools' future while we still can

In the Margaretta and the Berlin-Milan school districts, voters spoke last week on Election Day and said, "no new taxes."
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

In the Margaretta and the Berlin-Milan school districts, voters spoke last week on Election Day and said, "no new taxes."

More than a dozen years ago, the Ohio Supreme Court spoke, unequivocally stating the method Ohio uses to fund its public education system -- local property taxes that mean, because of what's built in the district and how much it's worth, some districts feast and some starve -- was unconstitutional and ordered it reformed.

And since that ruling, Ohio lawmakers have only mumbled, effectively stating the Ohio Legislature is an ineffective government body unable to meet the challenges the state faces and unable to follow the order from the state's high court.

So here's what we know: The Ohio Supreme Court is ineffective in requiring its order to be enforced; the Ohio Legislature is ineffective in almost everything it does; and public education in Ohio will be left to "die on the vine."

And the Margaretta and Berlin-Milan school districts very well might be the first casualties in that benign neglect. Both districts face uncertain futures and could very likely be taken over by the very ineffective state because there is not enough money to keep the districts operating. That's leaves local residents and local school administrators with very few choices, none of them good.

Perhaps the only hope is consolidation. Will it be better for area school districts to chart their own courses through choppy waters by partnering with other local districts in an effort to keep local control of public education? We think it would be, and we urge school administrators to start talking merger, consolidation and regionalism on a pro-active basis.

Think about it and do it now while it can be controlled locally, and the needs of the communities can be determined and addressed by the people in those communities.

The alternative is to let the state do it -- and we've seen how well the state does.