Doc Thompson makes a case for Education Reform

It was good to hear Doc Thompson cover the issue of needed education reform causing so much trouble in Ohio politics. The problem is a twofold issue. On one hand, the tendency of the state of Ohio to lean on property taxes to supply the funding for schools has allowed for politicians to ignore their constitutional mandate to supply adequate funding for schools within the state. The other problem is that staff wages and benefits have migrated too high to properly sustain, a fact that can no longer be overlooked. Case in point, Kevin Bright, superintendent of Mason Schools makes over $218,000 a year which is more than the governor of California makes. In fact, that’s more than any governor in the entire United States. Yet, somehow Mr. Bright believes that the work he’s doing in education has more value than the governor of a state. Kevin has been an instructor at Levy University at the OSBA’s Capital Conference and Trade Show, which school board members and superintendents all over Ohio attend each November to learn how to pass levies. Cutting busing is one of the strategies. I’ve been meeting with current and former school board members from multiple districts who have given me a step by step analysis of what goes on at that conference.

Currently, the amount of property tax that is paid in the Lakota School district is $11.29 per thousand dollars of home. So a home valued at 200,000 will pay around $2,258. So when the kid from Ohio State made a comment that the cost of the proposed levy would only cost $20 per 100,000 dollar per house, you would have to add $40 to the above figure, which is a lot.

One of the most ridiculous statements many people made toward me, and the rest of the No Lakota Levy group, and continue to make by the way, is that teachers deserve to make over $65,000 per year because they have master’s degrees, and are educating our future. And that those wages are on par with the rest of West Chester, and Liberty Twp. The problem is the wages really aren’t. West Chester is considered affluent with a household income of $73, 826. That means in most cases a husband and a wife are bringing home about $36,913 each to support that household. So in the case of the Lakota School System, we know that Lakota is spending over $31 million dollars a year on staff making over $65,000 per year each. That is almost twice the amount of the average resident taken individually.So it is quite an insult to the community for Lakota, and other school systems, to openly lie to the community and tell us that busing which only costs 2.8 million per year, or electives must be cut, when we have people that don’t work for the school system looking at these numbers and see the shell game for what it is.

It is with great relief that Doc Thompson joined The Big One recently, and took up the issue of these school levies particularly with Lakota, because as goes Lakota, so goes most of southern Ohio. Below, listen to Doc addressing this issue on the 18th and 19th of November, 2010. I didn’t contact him and ask him to do so. He did it on his own, the same with Darryl Parks and Scott Sloan. In many cases we’re all people who know a scam when we see it, and if any venture has formed between us, it is out of shared annoyance at the arrogance of school officials that are openly taking advantage of the tax payers. And Doc came here and saw this situation for himself, and his opinion is his own. He has not been influenced by anyone from the No Lakota group. And WLW is not bought and paid for by the republican party of Southern Ohio. I can personally proclaim the truth of that. But what we all have in common is that we do have conservative, and libertarian values whether it be as businessmen, entertainers, or radio personalities and we don’t like what we see. That’s why it was very refreshing to hear the fresh opinions of Doc Thompson coming to the immediate conclusion that reform needs to happen, and the unions need to get out of the way, quick.

Doc, is a native of the Buckeye State, growing up in a small town in Ohio. He spent most of his career in Cleveland but has also worked full-time in Lincoln, Las Vegas, and Albuquerque. He is a 5 time Marconi Award (the Academy Award of radio) winner for radio excellence. I’d like to welcome Doc and his Marconi’s to Cincinnati. I’ve listened to him for several weeks now. It was difficult at first because I was getting used to Scott Sloan in that 9 to 12 slot, and since Scott and I shared many ideas on what needs to happen in education it is only natural that you build a sense of loyalty. Doc has clearly earned my respect. In his discussion on education, he wasn’t shy about taking the complete education issues directly, and that is addressing phasing out the teachers unions, which is a conclusion I’ve come to realize is essential before true reform of education can be implemented. And besides, anyone that is on the radar of ThinkProgress, is a man who is good in my book. Listen to the clips in these articles, and be thankful that the Doc is in Cincinnati.

Such a task will take more than just ground troops and yard signs. These school systems have controlled for years newspapers, local politics, real estate firms, and television media, because in television there isn’t time to dig too deeply. A school like Lakota has direct access to over 18,000 students and their parents, so fliers sent home go directly to a potential voter. So it is extremely difficult to fight these types of tax initiatives.A radio station like WLW though and conservative radio in general is about ideas. It doesn’t have the luxury of relying on visual images to make their point. It’s only the voice behind the microphone and the idea behind the voice that can give weight to a concept. So the voice behind the microphone tends to be a person of great thought to start with, and such people are not easy to fool.

Welcome to Cincinnati, Doc. It’s great to hear that there is a great mind behind the microphone and that the power of the Big One can loom over these school districts and prevent the kind of manipulation that they are accustomed to. Because I am personally committed to holding off all of the levies, not just in Lakota but Little Miami, Mason, Talawanda, Fairfield, Lebanon, and Springboro, and forcing proper legislation committed to funding schools in Ohio.

I say that because leaders from all those districts have been meeting now, since the election, and we are forming a group called tentatively Educate Ohio. It will be a force to be reckoned with in 2011. And we will need allies at all levels to undo the destructive network that has formed under collective bargaining.

Rich Hoffman

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