Franklin schools superintendent admits he broke the law

Arnol-ElamWe were the first to tell you about Franklin City Schools Superintendent Arnol Elam’s publicly-funded campaign letter urging parents to join him opposing John Kasich’s reelection as governor.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports today that an investigation into Elam’s blatantly illegal behavior was closed after the superintendent admitted breaking the law, and promised to reimburse the district for the cost of printing and distributing the letter.

From the Enquirer:

In a statement, Fornshell wrote, “From our very first conversation, (Franklin School) officials expressed their regret over including the offending language in a letter that was both produced and distributed using public funds.

“Superintendent Elam and the (Franklin) Board of Education have acknowledged that the inclusion of the offending language did, in fact, violate (Ohio Revised Code) 9.03(C)(1)(e) and Superintendent Elam intends to personally reimburse the district for the funds used to produce the page of the letter that contained the offending language.”

Beyond the illegality of the letter, it’s important to note, again, that Elam’s assertions in the letter were just plain wrong to begin with.

School superintendent mobilizes students involuntarily against Kasich

Franklin City Schools Superintendent Arnol Elam has taken the outrageous step of enlisting his students to further a political agenda to unseat Governor John Kasich in the next election.

Arnol-ElamIn a letter sent home in kid’s backpacks, Elam calls for parents to join him in “an active campaign” to oppose Governor Kasich, involuntarily conscripting public school children to become political volunteers against the Governor.

“As parents and friends of our district, I hope you will do two things: First, please join me in an active campaign to ensure that Gov. Kasich and any legislator who supports him are not re-elected, ” he writes. Elam even posted the political letter to the district’s website.

Again, this is a letter sent in kids’ backpacks and posted to a public school district website (see screenshot here).

Not surprisingly, Stephen Dyer and the liberals at Innovation Ohio are supporting Elam and his use of state resources for political gain.Screen Shot 2013-02-14 at 5.32.14 PM

As if that wasn’t enough, the letter’s assertions just aren’t true.

In the letter, Elam writes: “Governor John Kasich was untruthful last week, and in doing so, finally clarified that kids in poor school districts don’t count.”

He continues: “The governor’s funding plan, has taken from the children that attend the Franklin City Schools and gives to the rich, continues that discrimination.”

The real truth is, low-wealth districts will receive much more state aid than high-wealth districts.

Under Governor Kasich’s new school funding plan Ohio’s low-wealth and urban school districts receive more state aid than high wealth districts both as a portion of Ohio’s overall formula funding and also on a per-pupil basis. In fiscal year 2014, Ohio’s lowest-wealth districts would receive 155 precent of the state average per-pupil and 400 percent more than the highest-wealth districts. Ohio’s wealthiest school district by property value would receive just $110 per-pupil, while Ohio’s poorest district, Trumble Local in Athens County, would receive $7,678 per pupil in state aid.

$7,678 – that’s more per pupil than the 28 richest school districts – combined.

The change being made here is that Governor Kasich’s new plan prioritizes the students, rather than the bureaucracy. Many districts which, because of shrinking student numbers and rising property values, would have lost state formula aid will instead receive no less funds than they received last year. Every school district in Ohio will receive at least as much state aid as they did last year.

State funding for education has increased each year since Governor Kasich took office, where state funding is Department of Education state general revenue fund excluding property tax relief and lottery. For fiscal year 2015, funding levels exceed fiscal year 2011 actual spending by $1.18 billion.

But these truths only serve as inconveniences to Superintendent Elam, Innovation Ohio and the ODP.

Superintendent Elam can be reached at [email protected] or (937) 746-1699. Frankin City School Board President JoAnn Feltner can be reached at [email protected] or (937) 746-8583. The other board members’ contact information can be found here.

Kasich, Strickland comparison derailed

When it comes to John Kasich and Ted Strickland, the list of similarities pretty much ends at “governed Ohio.” Most would agree on that.

TedStill every now and again someone makes a ridiculous argument, the latest being this one.

The argument is essentially this: Kasich’s proposal to receive federal funding by expanding Medicaid “mirrors” Strickland’s wish to accept federal funding to build a high-speed rail system.

The problem is, Medicaid, unlike Strickland’s now trashed high-speed rail plan, is a program each state is federally required to provide. Without expanding Medicaid and accepting federal funding, the cost of uncompensated care to hospitals will lead premiums to rise as much as 1.7 percent, according to Americans For Prosperity.

That might not sound like all that much until you crunch the numbers.

The average family premium is more than $14,000 per year. If there were only 500,000 family health plans in Ohio (likely more than that with a state population of over 11 million) premiums would rise $121.8 million more per year for private sector health insurance paid for by workers and employers.

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce cites the increase in health insurance premium costs as its reason for backing Kasich’s proposed Medicaid expansion.

On the other hand, Kasich’s decision not to accept funding for high-speed rail didn’t cost Ohio a dime. In fact, turning it down saved the state some money. Yes, Ohio tax dollars paid to the federal government went to other states, but there was zero additional loss to turning down high-speed rail like there would be without a Medicaid expansion.

There are plenty of opinions, but no matter what your thoughts are on the proposed Medicaid expansion, the fact is it isn’t comparable whatsoever to Strickland’s slow-speed rail fiasco.

Ed FitzGerald’s big green problem

Gubernatorial hopeful and Cuyahoga County diva Ed FitsJarold has a big, green problem.

Ed-FitzGeraldHe has no money.

His latest campaign report revealed he raised $234,000 during the first half of 2012, with just $181,000 on hand as of Dec. 31. To make matters worse, most of his donations were from labor unions and law firms all, for the most part, in Northeast Ohio.

To put things into perspective, the 2010 race for governor set new records for campaign fundraising. Ted Strickland raised $19.8 million and still lost. Governor John Kasich’s latest report in July revealed he has a $1.5 million head start on Fits. On top of the cash advantage, Kasich has statewide name recognition on his side and policies that have resulted in an Ohio economic recovery currently outpacing much of the country.

Obviously, Fits’ fundraising might gather some steam after he makes his decision to run official, but he becomes further and further behind with each passing day.

For Fits, on the bright side, voters outside Cleveland can’t misspell a name they’ve never heard of.

Edward FitzGerald: Overly Ambitious Diva

cover-1Ed FitzGerald allegedly wants to run the state, but before he graces Ohioans with such a decision you’d better learn how to spell his name — or else.

The Cleveland County Executive warned his staff that if his name is spelled wrong he won’t touch it, regardless of urgency.

The Plain Dealer published the memo he had sent out:

“Effective immediately, regardless of deadlines or emergencies, Ed will no longer sign letters, contracts, documents, etc. that does not have his name spelled properly (Edward FitzGerald),” FitzGerald’s administrative assistant Tanya Hairston wrote. “Additionally, please remember that his last name does have a capital G and should be used accordingly. I have also be informed to please return any documents that does not conform with his instructions to the sender.”

One wonders whether he’ll return donors’ campaign checks which erroneously contain a ‘G’ that isn’t capitalized.

And it’s “Edward.” Not “Ed.” Get it right.