The Akron Beacon Journal, March 4
The 2020 presidential election is near — at least when it comes to voting machines for Ohio counties. Many machines are aging, going back more than a decade, something of an eon for technology. Fortunately, state lawmakers unveiled plans last week to make funding available so that counties can be in position to see purchases by year’s end.
The timing is crucial. The state, once again a sure bet for battleground status, doesn’t want to enter a presidential election year with untested voting machines. Thus this year, the focus goes to buying the equipment, and next year to installing, testing and working out the kinks, leaving the state prepared for 2020. …
All still isn’t known about the Russian intervention in the 2016 presidential election. Yet the episode has exposed vulnerabilities. It makes the case for taking reasonable precaution in the form of easily checked paper ballots.
Elections are not just about choices. They bind us together. Thus it is good to see lawmakers ahead of things as 2020 approaches. The priorities are protecting the right to vote and ensuring confidence in our elections.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer, March 4
Ohio lawmakers need to revisit reforms enacted six years ago intended to protect juvenile defendants from harsh adult detention that have backfired by leaving judges with no flexibility to house dangerous juvenile offenders in more secure facilities.
Given the growing number of hardened violent youth offenders in cities like Cleveland, the Ohio General Assembly needs to revisit this issue urgently to give juvenile judges the discretion, once again, to place youth suspects in protected wings in adult jails for their own safety and that of other children.
The current situation — forcing juvenile judges to house murder suspects with young kids who’ve merely acted out at home in detention centers not designed for violent suspects — is a recipe for trouble.
This was underscored by the recent riot in the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center in Cleveland when youths used metal table legs as weapons, endangering other juvenile residents, detention officers and the SWAT team called to quell the violence. If not corrected quickly, continued unnecessary risk to other youth and more security breaches at juvenile centers can be expected. …
The Columbus Dispatch, March 5
Give credit where it’s due: Ohio lawmakers have talked for years about directing more school funding toward poorer districts, and at least one study shows that they have done so. That is encouraging, but it shouldn’t be taken for proof that Ohio’s school-funding system is adequate and logical.
The Washington, D.C.-based think tank Education Trust looked at school-funding systems in all states with an eye toward equity — distributing resources fairly according to need — and found that Ohio is among the best at giving extra help to schools with lots of poor and minority students. …
That’s what works about the state’s complex funding formula. It takes into account the challenges faced by some districts — high poverty, many minorities, special-needs students and those who don’t speak English well, among others — and adjusts the per-pupil amount accordingly.
Beyond that it breaks down, because the General Assembly hasn’t come up with a way to generate the money its own formula says is necessary. Hence the “cap”: an arbitrary limit on how much a district’s total state funding can grow from year to year. …
Creating a formula to steer extra funding toward the neediest schools is laudable, but if the state can’t actually allocate what the formula calls for, something is missing. …