Letter to the editor: Ohio HB 1 endangers public school funding

Dear Editors,

Thank you for your coverage of the $5.3 million shortfall being faced by the Talawanda School District. The losses in the coming years are devastating: busing, art, music, world languages, athletics, counseling, and even PE and recess are at risk of withering away. Shockingly, instead of scrapping for every penny to preserve what’s left, Ohio state legislators — including our own State Rep. Sara Carruthers — are seriously considering House Bill 1, which would siphon even more money from our district.

HB1 calls for a flat income tax that will result in about $3 in savings for most Ohio families, while further eroding desperately needed support for public schools. The Institute on Taxation estimates that Talawanda would see a $1.35 million deficit annually — on top of what it’s already facing — if the bill passes.

The intention of the bill may be to make Ohio more business friendly. But how will businesses deal with employees who have to come in late or leave early because they are driving their children to and from school? Zoom out a few years: How will they find well-educated, highly skilled employees if today’s public school students are being starved of their opportunities to succeed?

I am the proud parent of two Talawanda High School students involved in Mock Trial. On March 11, THS varsity narrowly lost the state championship to a private school near Cleveland. A panel of judges described our team as well prepared, well mannered and headed for success. Several commented that the championship round was the finest they had ever seen. My daughter, 14, is hoping to make the varsity team someday.

Unfortunately, that day might never come if support for public schools continues to fail.
THS’s Mock Trial students, no matter how rich or poor, are gaining confidence, learning to speak in public, practicing their professional demeanor, and thinking quickly on their feet, thanks to dedicated teachers. What they are learning is priceless, and it will pay dividends for the rest of their lives. I encourage all TSD residents to voice opposition to HB1 or any bill that takes away the funding our public schools need to help our children shine.

Vicki Cheng
Oxford, Ohio