Ohio governor releases school-funding info
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland released thousands of pages of public records yesterday to a lawmaker who sued for more information on the development of the governor’s school-funding plan.
Strickland provided agendas and reports, copies of meeting notes, and correspondence between various state agencies about the creation of his plan, along with thousands of comments gathered during public forums.
Strickland’s office delivered the documents to Rep. Seth Morgan yesterday afternoon on a compact disc. Morgan said he was just beginning to look at the documents and couldn’t say whether they met the scope of his request.
Strickland recently proposed an “evidence-based” education system that would require schools to use programs based on research findings and would set standards for students, teachers and districts. The plan would shift more of the financial burden to the state and away from local property taxes.
Morgan, a Republican from Huber Heights in suburban Dayton, is a member of a panel reviewing the schools plan. He sued Strickland April 6 in the Ohio Supreme Court demanding that the governor comply with two public-records requests Morgan made last month for the information.
Strickland, a Democrat, said he was providing the information even though the governor considers Morgan’s request overly broad and lacking details.
Morgan’s request “fails to identify the records you request with the clarity and specificity required by Ohio law,” Jeffrey Ruppert, Strickland’s deputy legal counsel, told Morgan in a letter accompanying the records.
“Rather, it seeks what amounts to a ‘complete duplication’ of the Governor’s Office files on the development of the Governor’s education funding plan — a request that is not contemplated by the Public Records Act.”
Ruppert also says almost all the documents the governor is providing Morgan could be shielded by executive privilege, which the governor is waiving.
“However, the Governor’s waiver of privilege should not be construed to waive, and does not in fact waive, any right to the future assertion of executive privilege by Governor Strickland or any executive agency,” Ruppert wrote.
He said he appreciated Strickland’s response but said it would have been nice to hear from the governor about the request a month ago. Morgan made requests March 12 and March 25 and says he never got a reply.
“The idea here is not to throw a nuclear bomb into the equation,” Morgan said in an interview, referring to his lawsuit.
“The idea was to get to bottom of it,” he said. “I’m grateful it appears the governor is willing to walk down that path with us.”