ESC choices could benefit local schools

Gov. John Kasich’s proposed education budget takes money from countywide educational service centers, such as the Trumbull County ESC.

The proposal may not be such a bad idea because it shifts the money to local school districts that would then have a choice about whether to purchase ESC services a la carte.

Overall, according to the state’s Office of Budget Management and Legislative Services Commission, 56 percent of Ohio students reside in a district that would receive increased state funding. That’s not bad for a state that two years ago had a projected $8 billion deficit and a mere 89 cents in its rainy day fund.

Educational service centers receive money to provide programs to schools that do not have enough students in need of those programs to make it cost effective to provide them on an individual basis. A good example is the deaf education program that the ESC houses in Champion. No district in the county has enough deaf students to afford the program, but the ESC can provide it for many districts.

The governor’s proposal would give each district an opportunity to choose which ESC services they want. They would then pay for those services only. In addition to increased choices for local districts, this would also motivate the service centers throughout the state to improve since they now have to sell their programs.

Considering the favorable marks districts throughout Trumbull County give the TCESC, it seems our local center would fare well under the proposal.