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A Russian Novel

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Ohio Roundtable: The Public Square - Russian Novel

Russian Novel

School funding - sounds like very boring. But boring or not –the school funding debate drags on.

Mark Yudof, President of the University of Minnesota described school funding in this way: “School finance reform is like a Russian novel; it’s long, tedious, and everybody dies in the end.” After twenty years of observation we have to agree that Yudof is right. School funding is grinding Ohio like a toothache.

The battle lines are drawn. The Constitution clearly states that the elected General Assembly is responsible for school funding. A handful of special interest trial lawyers disagree. They keep suing and suing and suing – all of us.

Four members of the Ohio Supreme Court agree with the special interest lawyers. They have ruled in their favor and seized control over school funding laws in Ohio. But nobody knows what to do next. The Governor is afraid to challenge the out of control Court. The General Assembly is afraid to tick-off the Governor. Everybody is afraid of the trial lawyers. And you and I are paying millions of dollars in legal fees because no one knows what to do next.

It is amazing, isn’t it?

Once the Courts abandon the clear instructions of the Constitution and start making up new rules based on politics and feelings, chaos follows – and we get stuck with a very, very big bill. Yudof is right – school funding is like a Russian novel. The story is continuing right now at your state capitol.

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