Back to school: Educational investment

It’s officially that time of the year again — the start of a new school term.

This week or next, kindergarteners will be getting on the school bus for the first time and college freshmen will be moving into dorm rooms. School supplies have been purchased and despite the continuing heat, summer seems to be coming to a close.

As always, the education of our children — from those kindergarteners who will graduate high school in 2030 to the student in his or her last year at tech school — is of the utmost importance.

These kids are truly the future of our state, and that future is changing. At the state level, we have to prioritize their education and work to improve its quality, preparing them to enter and live within a 21st century workforce and society.

In the recently passed state biennial budget, the Ohio House took significant strides towards this goal to provide a strong educational foundation for our youth.

First and foremost, we ensured that a majority of schools will not lose state funding for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019, a promise we worked hard to uphold during a tight budget cycle. Additionally, we were able to increase funding per-pupil from $6,000 to $6,010 and reward high-performing educational service centers (ESCs) with $26 per student, compared to the $24 per student other ESCs receive.

Above all else, it is vital that our school districts receive the funding they need to effectively educate our children in every region of the state.

Regarding higher education, we addressed concerns with rising tuition and fee costs by establishing tuition controls. These measures continued the tuition freeze for undergraduates and require colleges and universities to study textbook costs each year and report them to the Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

Both of these provisions work to make attaining a higher education more affordable and the cost to do so more transparent for prospective students.

On that note, it’s crucial for our economy and the success of individual Ohioans and their families that graduates are able to easily enter the workforce after school.

Part of that formula is promoting an educational pathway that leads to in-demand jobs, like those in the science and technology fields.

Further, in the budget, we maintained a commitment to overall workforce development, creating programs and models to provide career services and information to students and jobseekers while also investing in short-term certificates, getting people to work quickly.

As you send your children off to school in the coming days, or as you continue your own education, I hope these measures included in the state budget will be a benefit to you, allowing us to work toward a common goal of achievable, quality education.

At the end of the day, as Speaker, I want all Ohioans to have the opportunity to pursue their passion and career goals without unnecessary burdens, and I wish you the best of luck during the upcoming school year!

Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger represents the 91st District, which includes Clinton County.

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Cliff Rosenberger

Ohio House Speaker