I strongly urge you to vote for Joe Schiavoni for Governor in the Ohio Primary this May. Joe Schiavoni has been fighting for public education, teachers, and children since he took office as a Senator representing the 33rd district in 2009. He played an integral role in the fight against SB 5, which was an attack on teachers, firefighters, police officers, public workers, and their unions. He was very vocal in his opposition when the bill was introduced and worked tirelessly to inform the public about what they could do to fight it when a referendum was put on the ballot.
After SB 5 was roundly defeated, Joe Schiavoni warned that the fight was not over. He believed that parts of the bill would be introduced in new legislation. One of the most controversial examples of this was House Bill 70 (also known as the Youngstown Plan, after the district that would be affected by it first). Much like SB 5, HB 70 was crafted in secret and introduced and passed quickly with very little time for consideration by legislators or input from the public. This resulted in a lawsuit being filed by the Youngstown School district, YEA, OEA, and AFSCME citing the unconstitutional nature in which the bill was passed. Two years later, the lawsuit has been sent back down to the lower courts and a second district, Lorain, has been taken over by the state. House Bill 70 will allow for an appointed CEO, who need not have any experience in education, to have the power to “change or suspend any rules in place in union contracts, so long as they do not lower the pay and benefits of employees” by year three of a district takeover (among other things). Senator Schiavoni responded by holding more than 20 public meetings in Youngstown to gather feedback from community members so he and Rep. Lepore-Hagan could introduce companion bills based on concerns from the public about the plan. Both bills were sent to committee where they did not get the hearings they deserved before the end of the 131st General Assembly.
Joe Schiavoni also has a long history of introducing and re-introducing bills that will hold charter schools accountable for the tax dollars they receive and the children that they teach. Most recently, he has sponsored Senate Bill 39, a bill that would insist on stricter guidelines for the reporting of attendance data in e-schools. Senate Bill 175 would allow for a return of state funds to local districts from charter schools, should an audit find that an overpayment was made. With the recent closure of Ohio’s largest e-school, ECOT, and the state still exploring other avenues to recover the money lost to the school now that it has closed, this legislation is timely and desperately needed.
As senator, Joe Schiavoni tried to get an amendment into the budget bill that would have given our current seniors a safe harbor from the new graduation test requirements. He met with some members of the Ohio BATs this past Summer to hear our concerns about the thousands of kids who were not on track to graduate this year due to poor implementation of the requirements and several changes that were made throughout their high school career. While the amendment did not stay in the bill, and there is uncertainty that the alternative pathways that the legislature did accept in the budget bill will be enough to help those students, this is one more example of Senator Schiavoni’s willingness to listen to the concerns of educators and education advocates and act on them. Anyone who supports public education should join me in supporting Joe Schiavoni by voting for him in the Primary next May and the General election next November. I strongly believe that he is the best choice for the next Governor of the state of Ohio. He will continue to fight for our kids, our teachers, and our schools. If you would like to see where he stands on the issues, or would like to get involved in his campaign, you can visit his website at https://joeforjobs.com/.
– Mandy Jablonski