Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Budget Watch: Whither Special Ed. Scholarships?

More than anything, as the budget end game plays out, I'm looking for indications about what will happen to the Special Ed. vouchers proposal. On WKSU last night they aired a piece about Gov. Strickland's appearance before the Cleveland City Club yesterday. Kevin Niedermyer's intro says that Strickland and the GA have made enough compromises that he expect to "avoid any vetoes." Of course the piece also said that he would sign the budget last night, which was way off.

The Toledo Blade reports that the budget sailed through the conference committee with yet another unanimous vote. According to the Blade, the special ed. voucher proposal is still in the bill.

Dennis Willard writing in the ABJ today outlines the steps taken to rebalance the budget after the dip in projected tax revenue. He also notes some changes made to the new health insurance expansions, and some failed attempts to impose some order on school privatization schemes.

The Governor can line-item veto the program and, given the close split in the House, I doubt they can override. My concern is that he's so taken with the happy, shiny budget process that he won't want to buck the trend with a nasty veto. In a PD story about the budget, they quote him at the City Club predicting that the signing will be "joyous."

On the other hand, he set out his principle in his speech -- voucher programs, to the extent they are acceptable in compromise, must have some means test in them. The special ed. voucher program is universal, and will pay people who are already sending kids to private schools.

When I testified before the Senate Finance panel I went off script based on the testimony before me. I argued that once an education program is in place -- whether it's a brick-and-mortar school or a funding program or a virtual school, that program gains a constituency and
becomes extremely difficult to change or eliminate. The GA has taken no care in crafting this program and it's basically the Trojan Horse's nose under the tent.

Strickland should veto special ed. scholarships, Kum-ba-ya be damned.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, screw the disabled and special needs kids. If the schools they're in don't serve them well - tough cookies.

We're the goverment and we tell YOU where you must send your children.

Anonymous said...

it is about allocation of resources not screwing anybody, their are limited resources and have to be distrubuted to impact the greater good.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification comrade. Whatever is best for the collective.