[May 6, 2020] As school districts across Ohio face the prospective loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in state aid due to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ohio Education Association (OEA) calls on federal and state lawmakers to take urgently needed steps to provide relief so that Ohio’s students are not hurt.
“Parents and communities cannot count on being able to go back to work unless they can count on their kids going back to safe schools,” said OEA President Scott DiMauro. “It is going to be really hard to count on safe schools for our kids if we have massive cuts to education funding,” he said, adding that social distancing in classrooms and other safety measures will only be possible with adequate staffing to keep class sizes small.
“While we understand that state leaders have to make difficult choices, we have to make sure we are prioritizing education,” DiMauro said. “This is our future.”
DiMauro said the kids that are going to be most directly affected by budget cuts are the kids who are already suffering. “They’re the ones that don’t have technology access,” DiMauro said. “They’re the ones that come from communities that don’t have as many local resources to provide support to them.”
In order to make school districts whole for the remainder of the fiscal year, OEA is calling on state leaders to utilize funds from Ohio’s $2.7 billion rainy-day fund to preserve state funding that directly supports K-12 public education, the state share of instruction for public colleges and universities, and education services provided at adult and juvenile correctional institutions and County Boards of Developmental Disabilities. “As has been widely acknowledged, it is surely raining in Ohio now,” DiMauro said.
The OEA is also urging Congress to provide $175 billion in critical funding for the nation’s schools as part of the federal CARES Act for states and local communities.
“The federal government clearly has the ability to provide the resources that are needed right now,” DiMauro said. “It’s going to take those kinds of resources to make sure we don’t lose a generation of kids.”
OEA represents 122,000 teachers, faculty members and support professionals who work in Ohio’s schools, colleges, and universities to help improve public education and the lives of Ohio’s children. OEA members provide professional services to benefit students, schools and the public in virtually every position needed to run Ohio’s schools.