Vouchers To Grow In Ohio? In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich's (R) budget plan would reduce funding gaps between wealthy and poor public school districts and also create a new voucher program, reports the Columbus Dispatch. The new vouchers would give about $4,250 a year toward private-school tuition to any kindergartener whose family is making less than 200 percent of the poverty line. The next year, Kasich would expand the program to include first graders. While an existing scholarship plan currently does something similar for 15,702 students, a full 1.8 million students would qualify for the new plan's income requirements The budget plan includes a 6 percent overall school funding increase the following year, and then 3.2 percent more the next year.
Wyoming Ed-lection? Wyoming's state Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill announced she is is running for governor, according to the Star Tribune. The announcement follows Hill's tumultuous tenure and raucous relationships with state leadership: On Tuesday, Gov. Matt Mead signed into law a bill that removed much power from Hill's office -- so Hill filed a lawsuit. Why the fight? "Her tenure so far has included accusations that she improperly redirected state money to programs not authorized by the Legislature and hindered legislative reform efforts to better prepare Wyoming students for college and careers," the Trib reports.
School Districts Flack Up? Suburban school districts are increasingly turning to public relations professionals when trouble strikes -- at a high cost, reports the Boston Globe. "Nationwide, school districts commonly have public spokesmen on staff. But the practice has been rarer in Massachusetts, where school districts are smaller and superintendents, principals, and school board members typically take on the role of communicating with the community and news media," reports the Globe. "Some parents and residents say they want more information and openness from their school districts, but not everybody is convinced that this is the way to do it."
Indy School Control Fight? Last year, the state of Indiana took over four public schools in Indianapolis. Now, Mayor Greg Ballard wants the reins back, according to the Indianapolis Star. "The mayor has a strong track record of overseeing locally controlled schools and will ensure these students have access to quality education," Jason Kloth, Ballard's deputy mayor for education, told the Indy Star. "The mayor will be accountable to Indianapolis residents for the performance and management of the schools."
Do Pensions Affect School Performance? Over at Education Sector's blog, pensions guru Chad Aldeman explains some new research on pensions. According to a recent study from the Center for Retirement Research, the structure and generosity of pensions "have important effects on the quality of the teaching workforce," Aldeman writes. When a change to the Illinois pension system led to a spate of older, more experienced teachers retiring, student performance across the board either held steady of increased.