Yet Another Ohio Front Group Formed to Destroy School Choice

A 3RD RAIL POLITICS EXCLUSIVE

By Scott Pullins

 

The names are innocuous.  Educators for Ohio.  ProgressOhio.  Innovation Ohio.  Know Your Charter.  The Ohio Education Policy Institute.  The Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding. Stand up for Ohio Public Schools.  And now the latest, Real Choice Ohio.

 

Each of them have similar goals and are funded in a similar manner.  

 

Their goals?

 

Destroy charter schools, school vouchers, and online schools.  Get reimbursed for their alleged lost funds that were received by charter schools and their operators. Get a piece of the millions to be clawed back from the destruction of Ohio’s online schools.

 

And how are these organizations funded?

 

With your tax dollars, directly or indirectly.

 

And it is so clearly all about the money.

 

Higher salaries means more dues money.  And more dues money means more money to spend on politics.

 

Let’s take the individuals involved with Real Choice Ohio.

 

Walter Davis is the President of Real Choice Ohio and the Superintendent of Woodridge Local Schools.  In the 2016-2017 school year he was paid $118,456 for his 261 days of work.  Salary information is found at the website for the Ohio Treasurer of State.

 

Keith Kline is the Vice President of Real Choice Ohio and the Superintendent of West Clermont Local Schools.  In the 2016-2017 school year he was paid $144,983 for his 218 days of work.

 

Thomas Perkins is a board member of Real Choice Ohio and the Superintendent of Northern Local Schools.  In the 2016-2017 school year he was paid $137,000 for his 260 days of work.

 

Mary Ronan is also a board member of Real Choice Ohio and the Superintendent of Cincinnati City Schools.  In the 2016-2017 school year she was paid $198,000 for her 261 days of work.

 

This new group appears to be run out of the vast headquarters of the Ohio School Board Association at 8050 North High Street in Columbus.  Damon Asbury, the School Board Association Director of Legislative Services, who pulled down around $150,000 in 2014, is also on the board.

 

So far, this newly formed group hasn’t seemed to do that much, other than spend taxpayer dollars.  They issued a single press release to try and grab attention on the ECOT clawback issue.  You can see it below:

 

They held a conference in May where they charged attendees $75 a head to hear the same old folks rail about the same old things.  See brochure here.

 

And of course they are shaking down school districts.  See the picture below:

 

But here’s the question.  If government run schools are so great and school choice is so bad, then why do these groups have to spend millions of dollars to build themselves up and tear down school choice?  Wouldn’t the choice be obvious to parents?  And wouldn’t this money be better spent in the classroom instead of on lobbyists and consultants?  Or, is it that many government run schools are so bad that they need to spend these millions to hide their own records, while distorting the records of charter schools?