Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Athens Reacts to Proposed New Rules for Schools

Nicole DeChant

Last Wednesday Governor Ted Strickland shared his dramatic plans for public schools during his State-of-the-State
Address. An major part of his plan includes lengthening the school year with an
additional 20 days. Athens City Schools Superintendant Carl Martin explains that although it would make the budget tight, it is possible to add more school days.

Athens City Schools Superintendent Carl Martin describes how the extra school days would fit into the calendar.

Student Reaction
Athens High School sophomore Nick Betem thinks that going to school for an additional 20 days wouldn’t be that bad.

Athens High School student Nick Betem talks about extra days.

New Testing
Another part of Strickland’s plan is to use the ACT college entrance exam as a replacement for the Ohio Graduation Test, with the hope that it would encourage more high school students to consider college.

Requiring the ACT’s for all students may cost the state a significant amount of money because each test costs approximately $30. Superintendent Carl Martin says, “We graduate somewhere around 230 students, so that’s quite a few dollars just for our district, and there are probably 700 to 800 high schools in the state, so you’re talking about quite a bit of money.”

Although it may cost more, Athens High School student Nick Betem thinks that
using the ACT’s for testing instead of the standardized Ohio Graduation Test would be a good idea. Betem says, “If you wanted to go to college for classes you could just use the ACT scores instead of the (O.G.T.) test. Everyone has to take it so everyone would have a shot at going.”

Where will the Money Come From?
Strickland proposes to raise state fines and fees, including tipping
fees at Ohio’s landfills. He's slashing the budgets of many state agencies by 10%-20%. But he has promised that his plan can be financed without raising taxes.

When will this Happen?
Lawmakers in the House and Senate will review Strickland’s proposal over the
next several months. The budget has to be approved before the start of the fiscal year, July 1.

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