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We learn from Jessica Alaimo at CentralOhio.com that the US Senate approved legislation on Thursday that provides $10 billion for education and $16 billion to increase the federal contribution for Medicaid for desperate state coffers.
The president of the Ohio Education Association, Patricia Frost-Brooks, says that Thursday “was a Hallelujah day. I was holding my breath.”
On Wednesday, senate Democrats broke a Republican filibuster that made Thursday’s vote possible.
The National Education Association estimates that Ohio schools could get $365 million. That is enough for 5,007 teaching jobs.
Frost-Brooks says that the money won’t just go to teaching jobs. In addition to the 4,000 education positions that have been lost to budget cuts, there is a list of services that have been cut — music, art, foreign language programs, advanced classes, bus routes and school counselors.
The bill is explicit: money would have to be used for salaries, benefits and support services for school staff. Districts can also use it to recall or rehire former staff members, or to bring on new employees for K-12 schools and early childhood programs.
A spokesperson for Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown says these education funds would be distributed based on the state’s school funding system or on the proportion of Title 1, Part A shares. Brown was a co-sponsor of the legislation.
Ohio Republican Senator George Voinovich voted against the legislation, saying “Local officials can no longer rely on an injection of money from Washington when times get tough.”
But Sherrod Brown says “We must work to ensure that our children…receive a high-quality education even in the face of this economic downturn.”
Ohio students head back to school in two weeks.
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