Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson used his annual state of the city address yesterday to advance the idea of regionalism for Cleveland-area education providers.
“We cannot continue to go our separate ways and say everyone can fend for themselves,” Jackson told a crowd of several hundred at the downtown Crowne Plaza Cleveland City Centre hotel.
“Education is a regional concern and should be approached in the same way, with the same vigor as a regional economy. Each student in every district should learn at the same pace and perform at the same high level.”
The buzz about regionalism has been building in the Cleveland area. And there have been some modest strides. The city has negotiated a tax-sharing agreement with some suburbs in which if an employer leaves on municipality for another, the two will share in the income tax revenues. Also a number of inner-ring suburbs have formed a consortium.
But there are plenty of barriers to regionalism, as well. And speeches like the one Jackson made, are rarely given in growing exurbs.
The Cleveland Municipal School District is easily one of the state’s worst, with a 61 percent graduation rate. Gov. Strickland used the district as an example of the need for a more equitable funding system in his state of the state address last month, where the focus was largely on repairing Ohio’s broken school funding system, which was four times been ruled unconstitutional by the state’s Supreme Court.
I wonder, can these guys finally muscle something through some real reform?