We recently published an article about a Lucas County State Representative, Derek Merrin, introducing legislation that would simplify the ballot language for any property tax levy placed on the ballot by the public schools. The legislation has been opposed by a school lobbyist named Barbara Shaner, employed by Allerton Hill Consulting out of Columbus.
We have started our research into the issue of public schools employing lobbyists to influence any legislation that impacts public schools. We find it a bit unnerving that the public school administrators use taxpayers’ property taxes to hire lobbyists to thwart any efforts to simplify the ballot language so that the taxpayers have a better chance to understand what they are voting for.
We contacted the Riverside school district and were given the following information about them hiring lobbyists:
Riverside does not pay directly for any lobbyists. I also have never heard of Allerton Hill Consulting until your email.
Riverside does pay dues to several professional organizations who provide professional development, publications, and other services, but also participate in advocacy efforts.
I will list them below with the dues paid by Riverside for the current fiscal year:
Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA): Annual dues of $7,559.00 for the District
Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA): Annual dues of $1,320.40
Ohio Association of School Business Officials (OASBO): Annual dues of $836.00
Alliance for High Quality Education (AQHE): Annual dues of $3,500.00 per District
(LFC Comment: As always, we thank Riverside School officials for their honesty, transparency and very quick response to our questions.)
We decided to look at the website of each of the organizations that Riverside is supporting, and let the taxpayers decide if they think that taxpayers are paying for lobbyists that may not be looking out for the taxpayers’ best interests.
OSBA – https://www.ohioschoolboards.org/issues-and-advocacy
(LFC Comment: Please note the term advocacy – they keep watch over legislation in Columbus.)
BASA – http://www.basa-ohio.org/
“The mission of the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA) is to inspire and support its members, develop exemplary school system leaders and advocate for public education.” (LFC added emphasis)
OASBO – https://oasbo-ohio.org/#/
AQHE – https://ahqe.org/about-us/
“The Alliance is a Council of Governments made up of approximately sixty Ohio school districts –– mostly high-performing, high tax effort, above average wealth districts –– dedicated to the concept that school funding should be the State’s number one priority, that education is the single, most important factor for ensuring sustained economic growth in the state, and that objectively determined, stable, adequate funding levels are the only way to guarantee appropriate educational opportunities for all of Ohio’s youth and satisfy the state constitution’s “thorough and efficient” clause..”
(LFC added emphasis)
(LFC Comment: The above comment that throwing more money into school funding is the only way to guarantee appropriate educational opportunities is, in our opinion, a “red herring”. The breakdown of the basic family structure , and the policies of the federal and state governments, are at the root of the educational problem. Our society will not be improved by having the State public education system assume the role designated for the parents.
Take a look at the websites to determine if the organizations are involved in lobbying efforts. We plan to contact each one to ask their involvement in lobbying.
This research is far from over.)