June 15, 2018
When the Lakota School District put a levy on the ballot in 2013, I was part of a great team that worked very hard to help it pass, which it did. It was crucial for the school district.
What I learned about school funding, both while working on the levy and since, is a big part of why I’m running for public office. Have you ever heard of ECOT?
It may be the biggest financial scandal in Ohio history.
ECOT — the “Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow” — closed earlier this year. It was a “virtual” school. Its 12,000 students were spread across Ohio, getting their education online.
ECOT was privately owned, and a for-profit school. Yet it was also considered, under state law, a public charter school. It received about $1 billion in taxpayer money since it opened in 2000.
State Auditor Dave Yost said that ECOT was inflating its attendance numbers. Yost said ECOT was counting a computer turned on at a student’s home as meaning the child was doing schoolwork. Really? As every parent with a school-age child and a computer knows, a computer turned on does not mean schoolwork is being done. The Ohio Department of Education said ECOT overcharged taxpayers by $80 million just in the last two years.
Yost is referring his audit to law enforcement authorities to see if criminal charges should be filed.
How did ECOT get away with this for so long? Well, ECOT’s founder, Bill Lager, and his associates donated millions to members of the Ohio Statehouse over many years. Is there a connection? You decide.
Our school funding system in Ohio is broken.
January 19, 2018
WEST CHESTER TWP.
Wyenandt told the Journal-News she will formally announce on Sunday afternoon at Grainworks Brewing Company that she will run against Ohio Rep. George Lang, R-West Chester Twp., who was appointed this past spring to the 52nd Ohio House District after Margy Conditt resigned.
December 05, 2017
Vaughn, a 67-year-old Democrat, will run against the three-term Republican in the November 2018 general election.
She said she’s running because “ethics” has been the “first and foremost” issue people want to see improved.
“Things I’ve seen happening worldwide have motivated me to want to do something, to bring us back to more values-based decision-making,” said Vaughn, Miami University’s director of the Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution. “I think it impacts young people, and I think it has tremendous impact when we make decisions that are values-based.”
- October 13, 2017
October 12, 2017
WEST CHESTER TWP.
-- Those who want to see West Chester Twp. Trustee Mark Welch lose in November have launched an opposition website while the candidate’s landing page is still “under construction.”
Butler County Democrats launched MarkWelchForTrustee.orgon Tuesday, the day before early voting was set to start in Ohio. The landing page of Welch’s campaign site — MarkWelchForTrustee.com — indicated as of Thursday morning the site is not ready, but an Internet search found live links to the site’s pages.
The opposition website consists primarily of news stories and court filings over the past four years, but Welch said the claims “are shallow” and involve “extenuating circumstances.”
Butler County Democratic Party Executive Chairwoman Jocelyn Bucaro said “it’s time for a change” from the conservative township trustee’s leadership.
“Welch has served his own interests while also allowing the fiscal officer to launch unrepentant public campaigns of sexism and hatred against West Chester residents,” she said. “The township is being run by special interests at the expense of West Chester families. It’s time to clean up West Chester government and start fresh with new leadership.”
July 11, 2017
Less than 200,000 people lived in Butler County when it was last a political stronghold for Democrats.
But as the 1960s ended, so did the party’s political grip on the county.
Some 40 years after that political change, Democrats are hoping to make Butler County blue again, though party leaders know that could take years to happen.
That starts with “building the bench,” where local-level nonpartisan offices are occupied by Democrats, said Kathy Wyenandt, the party’s Central Committee chairwoman.
The Democratic Party’s bottom-up approach to take back some of the GOP’s political power is exactly what they need to focus on, said Miami University Regionals political science professor John Forren. That includes convincing strong, viable candidates to run, helping those candidates navigate the political ropes, and making sure they have the resources to mount a competitive campaign.
May 25, 2017
Despite assurances by the Butler County Republican Party that financial reports “will be made complete,” county Democrats say they can’t see how the GOP can verify a dozen anonymous donations, such as a $200 anonymous donation in an envelope left on a desk.
There were also 80 people’s donations not identified with the donor’s full name, and a $14 cash donation from someone identified as “Donald Trumpster,” according to an audit recently completed by the Butler County Board of Elections.
The Journal-News reported earlier this week that tens of thousands of dollars invested by the Butler County Republican Party into helping Donald Trump win Butler County and Ohio in the presidential election were not properly reported to the Federal Elections Commission, according to the audit.
“Campaign finance laws exist for voters to know who is influencing our elections,” said Butler County Democratic Party spokeswoman Jennifer Rieger. “The GOP fundamentally violated multiple federal and state laws. This hasn’t been ‘fixed.’ They can’t ‘fix’ this.”
The Butler County Democratic Party took the GOP to task on Twitter this week for its messy bookkeeping, and called the party out for similar messy finance reporting for the 2016 primary.
May 24, 2017
Warren Davidson sure looked like the right candidate on paper. Served his country, became an elite Army Ranger, garnered an appointment to West Point, earned an MBA from Notre Dame, and joined the family business. So when he asked voters of Ohio’s 8th District to send him to Washington in 2016 claiming “I WILL fight for you,” it was easy to believe he would do just that.
But Congressman Davidson hasn’t fulfilled that promise. In fact, the only people Davidson seems to be fighting for are a small percentage of his constituents; people who — like Davidson himself — stand to benefit from legislation will hurt the majority of Ohioans.
Take the President’s American Health Care Plan. By supporting this bill, Davidson essentially voted for a significant tax break for households like his making more than $200,000 a year. According to the 2015 US Census that’s about 9,300 households in District 8 – barely above 3 percent.
Meanwhile, roughly 61,000 individuals in the district stand to lose their health insurance because of this bill. This could be due to being charged significantly more for having a pre-existing condition, being charged more simply because you’re older, or because you’re poor.
May 23, 2017
Tens of thousands of dollars invested by the Butler County Republican Party into helping Donald Trump win Butler County and Ohio in the presidential election were not properly reported to the Federal Elections Commission, according to a recent audit.
Audits recently completed by the Butler County Board of Elections turned up missing pages of campaign finance reports, laxed record-keeping, and more than $43,000 in discrepancies related to the 2016 general election.