If you believe what you read in The Blade, charter school operators and sponsors in Ohio are simply out to make money off public schools.
As vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that now sponsors nine schools in southwest Ohio, I can attest that quality sponsorship is not a profit-making venture.
Quality sponsorship, the work of overseeing and helping charter schools, costs significantly more than the fees schools pay to their sponsors and much of a sponsor's work takes place before schools even begin paying these fees.
Doing this job well will never make a sponsor rich, and in fact, it is likely that most will never recoup their costs, particularly if they aspire to sponsor high-quality charter schools.
Under Ohio law, a charter sponsor does more than just provide oversight. Sponsors also offer their schools various forms of "technical assistance," including fixing dysfunctional financial management systems or filling holes in their curricula.
Charters face particular challenges in many areas because the state expects them to operate with just 70 percent of the funding that district schools receive.
Even the noble efforts of funders like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (and others), which might support charters and sponsors alike, do not come close to bridging these gaps. The business of charter schooling is not flush with money, but it is flush with responsibility.
Ohio and its taxpayers get an incredible bargain by working with quality nonprofit sponsors. At Fordham, we've spent at least $2 of private money for every dollar the state has invested in sponsorship via its charter schools.
It is absurd to suggest that charter schools are a cash cow for their nonprofit sponsors. Decent sponsors and charter operators contribute more to Ohio than they receive.
Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
Police fee proposal is a hidden tax
As a Toledo resident and an insurance agent, I am concerned about the proposed billing for police services. I think it's important that residents become aware of the potential impact of this hidden tax.
If this new measure passes, you will see bills from both police and fire for showing up at your accident, regardless of whether they were dispatched or needed.
I'm not sure how many residents are aware the fire department is currently charging for showing up at an accident. A client recently received an invoice for more than $1,500.
There is also the issue of selective billing (insured versus uninsured drivers). Does the billing company also charge at-fault drivers if they are uninsured? I have heard that only drivers who have auto insurance are billed. That means that insured drivers end up subsidizing those who break the law and don't carry insurance. Currently, there is no provision in an auto insurance policy to cover these charges.
One final point: Regardless of what service on-duty fire or police personnel are providing (fighting fires, filing paperwork, directing traffic, etc.), their salaries are covered by our taxes, specifically the 3/4 percent temporary tax.
The bottom line is that Toledo residents should know about the police fee proposal and voice their opinion about it. After all, they already pay for police and fire services and could be faced with paying for them twice through their insurance premiums.
Dana execs aren't up to the challenge
I own Dana stock. Michael Burns and his team of key executives took Dana into bankruptcy. Tell me again why Dana should reward them with $10.3 million in bonuses to get the company out.
It is ludicrous. I bet there are good people out there who are up to the challenge of fixing Dana for that money, or even less. Mr. Burns' crew already proved they are not capable. C'mon judge, do the right thing and deny this request.
Gestapo-like tactics drive people away
Our city fathers scratch their heads as to why our downtown municipal docks sit empty and our children flee the area in droves. Meanwhile numerous police agencies prowl the river in their horrendously expensive boats stopping boaters on the slightest pretext or no pretext at all.
Next comes the half-hour "safety inspection" where every nook and cranny is searched without probable cause.
From township Barney Fyfes to Department of Natural Resources goobers, they compete to issue the most tickets to pay for their gas-guzzling speed boats and fund their phony-baloney salaries.
A heavily recruited young professional couple crossed Toledo off their list of potential relocation sites after just such an experience with the DNR while on a relative's boat. A young professional golfer commented, "I'll stick with golf" upon receiving the same gestapo-like treatment.
One of the few advantages this area has to attract young people has been turned into a money-grabbing boondoggle. All the while our civic leaders watch the empty docks, decry our fleeing younger generation and wonder why.
WILLIAM R. AHERN
City is neglecting University/Parks trail
I am a hobby bicyclist who commutes almost daily on the University/Parks Trail. The portion of the trail that is "maintained" by the City of Toledo is overgrown with trees, bushes, shrubs, and overhanging vines and tree limbs.
The sides of the trail need mowing. The extent of the neglect is such that it is now hazardous to walk, ride, or blade on vast stretches of the trail.
To avoid the encroaching vegetation, one must swerve to the center of the trail. The vegetation obscures one's vision ahead on the trail. There is fallen debris such as tree limbs to avoid. All of these factors make accidents more likely, even inevitable. One can only imagine the lawsuits that may be filed if it can be proven in court that the accident was likely caused by a lack of proper maintenance on the city's part.
I spoke recently to a Metroparks ranger who was patrolling the trail and asked him why the trail was not being maintained. He told me the Metroparks authorities asked the city to let them maintain the city's portion of the trail, and the city refused. Yet the city will not do its job. This once fine community asset has become a dangerous, run-down accident waiting to happen.
In contrast, the portion of the trail maintained by the Metroparks is generally mowed and trimmed. Why doesn't the city either do its job or give the job to someone who will? It is, as the entry signs to the city say, a matter of pride.
Not buying idea of conduits' ignorance
Am I supposed to believe that both current and former elected leaders did not realize that taking money from Tom Noe and funneling it to President Bush's re-election campaign was illegal?
Here I am, one of the downtrodden masses, and I know it's illegal.
This is one of the reasons I have switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party. I cannot believe the corruption there is here in Lucas County and our state regarding the Republicans.
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