The (Findlay) Courier, Feb. 11
About half of Ohio schools now charge a fee for students to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities. The number is only expected to increase as many districts struggle to find the right balance between academics and sports, and enough money to fund both.
The issue has not been lost on lawmakers who formed a committee last fall to determine how much impact fees have on participation.
Ohio Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, and other legislators held four forums to collect public comments. Their report suggests no decision has been made whether legislative action will be needed.
There is still much to consider. Banning fees could hurt schools which rely on them to support their programs. Allowing fees, but capping them at a certain level, may not work because districts vary widely in size and wealth …
The goal, of course, should be to allow every student the opportunity to participate in sports and other activities. That opportunity shouldn’t be based on money.
The OHSAA should get more involved in the search for a solution. If not, the Legislature may have no choice but to intervene further.
Akron Beacon Journal, Feb. 12
The federal Environmental Protection Agency released its Clean Watershed Needs Survey last week. The report assesses the state of the country’s water-related public works, looking at the investment required to sustain such things as treatment plants and storm water management and comply with the Clean Water Act. The conclusion? The needs total $271 billion the next five years.
For the Great Lakes region, the sum is $80 billion, and the scope narrowed to Ohio, $14.5 billion. That isn’t hard to believe in Akron, where the $1.4 billion expense of the combined sewer overhaul looms. For its part, Ohio ranks second among the states in the capital costs ($7.5 billion) to prevent a mix of storm water and untreated waste from flowing into waterways.
The problem is, the current rate of spending doesn’t come close to matching the need. The EPA survey calculates that as things are, the Great Lakes will address its needs in 160 years. Yes, in the second half of the 22nd century …
For their part, Ohio and other states must take responsibility by deploying their stronger financial leverage to help local communities. Thus, the idea of Joe Schiavoni, the Ohio Senate minority leader, deserves attention …