State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today raised concerns over new allegations that Ohio charter schools possibly linked to an international Islamic religious movement have misused millions in taxpayer dollars through what’s being called a “closed-loop” leaseback scheme.
“Reports that Ohio charter schools are using millions in taxpayer funds for anything other than educating our children are deeply troubling and unfortunately speak to the continuing lack of adequate oversight in our state,” said Lepore-Hagan.
With Ohio's voter registration ending today, and early voting beginning tomorrow, State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) released guides today for early voting by mail and in person.
Rep. Clyde has been traveling across the state, talking to voters and Ohioans about the ongoing effort to improve early voting opportunities and voter access.
“Ohio adopted early voting for all in 2005, but it's been a struggle to keep it ever since. Republicans have continuously led efforts to reduce voter turnout, to promote the boogeyman issue of voter fraud and to eliminate opportunities for early voting,” said Rep. Clyde.
State Rep. and President of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) applauded today’s announcement that Ohio met its Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification goals for the second consecutive year since the program was established over 30 years ago.
“I am proud that we have been able to move a thirty-plus year law championed by the OLBC from goals and aspirations into results and reality for Ohio’s African American and minority businesses,” said Reece. “This record level of investment is historic and demonstrates that OLBC’s advocacy and partnership with the governor and state is leading to a stronger promise of prosperity and economic opportunity for our entrepreneurs and business leaders who create jobs and pay taxes.”
State Reps. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) and Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown), with Mahoning County Commissioner Carol Righetti and City Councilman Mike Ray, today discussed the recent court victory that ruled illegal Secretary of State Jon Husted's purging of tens of thousands of Mahoning Valley voters and the decision's impact on the election.
In light of this illegal purging, the group also reiterated how important it is for all residents to check their registration status and to get registered by Ohio's Oct. 11 deadline.
"Secretary Husted has continually and arbitrarily picked winners and losers in his effort to undermine the right to vote," said Rep. Clyde. "Husted's tactics have been ruled illegal – a historic victory for voters. But everyone should check their registration as over 70,000 Mahoning Valley voters were illegally purged."
State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) Tuesday kicked off Safe Sleep Awareness Month with visits to Cleveland Clinic Akron General and Summa Health Equity Center to drop off onesies and discuss safe sleeping practices for babies. In collaboration with Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA Early) Childhood Initiative and ACCESS Shelter & Housing, a local organization dedicated to addressing the plight of women and children in the Akron community, Sykes is gathering donated onesies for families in need and spreading awareness about safe sleeping practices for Ohio babies. The onesies, donated by the Ohio Hospital Association, have “This Side Up” printed across the front—a reminder to parents that doctors recommend all infants sleep on their backs to reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) today called on Secretary of State Jon Husted to atone for his illegal purging of 1.2 million Ohio voters and restore them to their lawful, rightful ability to vote in the November election.
State Reps. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) and Janine R. Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) today introduced a bipartisan resolution to recognize October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Ohio. Advocates with the Ohio Domestic Violence Network today gathered to present an annual report of Ohio Domestic Fatality Data at a press conference in the state capitol.
State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), the highest-ranking Democratic lawmaker on the House Education Committee, responded to today’s ruling by Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Jenifer French that found that stopping a state attendance probe into the online charter school ECOT would be in violation of state policies. A state audit of ECOT attendance data revealed the online charter could be defrauding the state and taxpayers by some $60 million during the last year alone by over reporting enrollment by 143 percent during the same period. Judge French’s ruling comes as a response to ECOT’s efforts to stop the state from obtaining additional and accurate attendance data from the online charter.
“Today’s decision reaffirms what education experts, Democratic lawmakers, teachers, parents and I have been saying since the inception of the Republican-led charter school experiment: We cannot let our most vulnerable children be robbed of the opportunity for a lifetime of success just to line the pockets of failing charter school operators,” said Fedor. “This ruling raises new questions as to how state leaders have turned a blind eye to online charter schools cheating our children, taxpayers and traditional schools since 2003. I believe Judge French’s ruling confirms that online charter schools should be held to the same standards and rules as traditional schools to best protect our children’s and the public’s interest in guaranteeing high-quality educational opportunities for children from all backgrounds – especially our most vulnerable.”
Last year, Fedor and others called for the state to investigate Ohio Virtual Academy (OHVA), another online charter, after a whistleblower contacted her office providing documents that allege OHVA receives more state tax dollars by padding its rolls with chronically truant students.
“It is time for state education officials to get serious
State Rep. Debbie Phillips (D-Albany) was presented with the Ohio School Board Association (OSBA) Southeast Region President’s Award Thursday evening during the region’s Annual Fall Conference. Every year, the President’s Award recognizes dedicated leadership in education and unwavering commitment to students in the Southeast region.
State Rep. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) recently announced that the Ohio Development Services Agency has opened the application process for the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program, which provides direct financial assistance to train workers and improve the economic competitiveness of the state’s employers.
“I am hopeful that employers in Lucas County will take advantage of this important opportunity to grow and supplement our skilled workforce,” said Rep. Sheehy. “This program offers educational training opportunities for companies to retain and grow their existing workforce while also improving overall company competitiveness.”