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Published: Friday, 11/14/2008

Strickland's education forums focus on funds

BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU

COLUMBUS - Now the really hard part begins.

Gov. Ted Strickland yesterday announced round two of his "Conversation on Education'' forums, this time hitting the thorny subject that could dominate the debate of 2009-school funding.

"Nothing is more important to Ohio's long-term success than improving education," Mr. Strickland said.

"The future of our economy depends on our ability to make sure all Ohio children have the quality education opportunities they need to build their careers right here in Ohio."

Mr. Strickland plans to hold six regional forums beginning on Nov. 20 in Columbus. The only northwest Ohio forum will take place on Dec. 12 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at Toledo's WGTE Public Media at 1270 South Detroit Ave.

The others will take place in Cleveland, Mansfield, Cincinnati, and Athens.

Mr. Strickland headlined a series of 11 forums over the summer, including one in Toledo, to seek public input on how Ohio could improve its K-12 system, putting aside for another day the discussion on how to pay for it.

That day has now arrived. The governor has said he wouldn't consider his tenure in office a success unless he'd dealt with the issue of school funding. The Ohio Supreme Court repeatedly ruled that the system's reliance on local property taxes unconstitutionally places students in poorer districts at a competitive disadvantage.

Mr. Strickland has said he plans to put a comprehensive package before lawmakers this year and has promised to take it directly to voters if it doesn't win passage.



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