Voters rejected more than half the school levies that were on Ohio ballots on Tuesday, making layoffs and other cuts likely in one of the state's big-city school districts and other school systems, officials said.
The levy's defeat in Cincinnati means layoffs are likely as officials try to close a $30 million budget gap for the public schools, which already have eliminated 200 jobs this year, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported. The district has not said how many additional positions could be cut.
"We believe our community supports us, they just didn't have the money," Superintendent Mary Ronan said. "We'd still like to thank all our voters. We came up a little bit short."
That $30 million gap is a big problem here in Cincy. As good as Tuesday's election was for the progressive transformation of the City Council, the school levy losing was a major blow as it went down 47-53%. Cincy schools will haveto make more serious cuts. It's bad in other counties in Ohio, too that saw new levies lose. Just how bad is it? This bad.
Districts that lost out at the polls had contingency plans in place to make up for the tax money they won't be receiving and will now move toward cutbacks, he said.
For example, the Westerville schools in suburban Columbus plan to eliminate all sports and other extracurricular activities next year, scale back busing to state minimums and eliminate about 175 teachers, The Columbus Dispatch reported. The planned cuts are "very grim," said Chris Williams, the Westerville teachers union president.
The union battle may have been won this time, but the larger GOP war on government in the state is still going very much in favor of the Republicans wishing to dismantle as much of Ohio's public infrastructure as possible.
Oh, and the Tea Party in Ohio is already gearing up for their next assault on the middle-class: turning Ohio into a "right-to-work" state to eliminate what waning power unions in the Buckeye State have left.
The constitutional amendment would prevent any Ohio worker from being forced to join a union or pay union-fees as a condition of employment. There were provisions in Senate Bill 5 that would’ve enacted similar rules for public employees by eliminating “fair share” payments for those with bargaining-unit jobs that did not want to be union members and cancelling automatic paycheck deductions for political causes unless the employee gave written permission.
“Unions obviously are powerful political machines,” Thompson said. “One of the reasons for that is they have the ability to reach into the pocket of each of their workers through work and fair share fees and use them for political purposes.”
Passage of Issue 2 would’ve changed that — and greatly limited collective bargaining for public labor unions — but more than 2.1 million voters squashed those provisions on Tuesday.
The GOP will not give up until every union in the country is dead and gone, and every worker is at the complete whim of their employer. It's useful to keep that in mind. This is far from over.