Superintendents Need Public’s Help

by Katie Jeffries on December 11, 2009 at 6:31 am

Superintendents for Coshocton, Morgan and Muskingum County schools need the publics help to avert a financial disaster.

Friday afternoon 12 superintendents gathered to discuss the $851 million shortfall in revenue to education,  from the absence of money from gambling video terminals. Without the $851 million there will be almost no federal money granted to public schools in Ohio. Meaning Coschocton, Morgan and Muskingum County Schools could have a shortfall of $33 million dollars without federal money. But Ohio House Bill 318, which is supported by the Chamber of Commerce, Governor and local superintendents offers a solution.

"The house crafted the idea of a 2 year delay in the 5th year of the income tax reduction for people in order to plug that hole with no tax increase to the constituency and the state," says Dr. Richard Murray the Superintendent of Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center.

By keeping the income tax the same for the next two years, it will make up for the $851 million shortfall in Ohio. If Ohio House Bill 318 is not passed by the end of the year, these superintendents say the impact would be catastrophic.

"We did some quick calculations with some superintendents and some place between coaches, teachers, bus drivers, custodians and so forth there would be over 600 employees that we would have to take out of the schools in the 3 counties to be able to off-set that huge loss," says Dr. Murray.

Also all extracurriculars would have to be cut. Dr. Murray says if Ohio House Bill 318 does not pass it will change the entire way public schools function. The bill is currently stalled in the Ohio Senate due to special interests. Dr. Murray and the 12 superintendents are now calling the public to action.

They say the public needs to call the offices of Senator Bill Harris, the president of the Senate (614-466-8086) and Jimmy Stewart, State Senator (614-466-8076) and express support for Ohio House Bill 318. Dr. Murray says everyone should support Ohio House Bill 318 for a simple reason.

"If House Bill 318 is passed it generate $851 million for schools in the state and no one sees a tax increase," says Dr. Murray.

If Ohio House Bill 318 does not pass, Southeastern Ohio school districts will be the hardest hit in Ohio. So Dr. Murray urges people not to wait, but call the senators’ offices as soon as possible.