By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer
Attacking Governor Voinovich’s plans for funding education yesterday, former Toledo city councilman and mayoral candidate Peter Silverman formally announced his candidacy for a seat on the Toledo board of education.
Standing on the steps outside One Government Center, Mr. Silverman, a Democrat, said his campaign will make five guarantees:
* Constantly improving test scores in core subjects.
* Push for all-day kindergarten statewide.
* A cap of 15 students per class through third grade.
* Tougher discipline.
* Money to train teachers.
“I’ve been involved in government a long time. I know how to make things happen,” he said.
The candidate, who told The Blade in May of his intention to run, focused his remarks on the statewide restructuring of education funding ordered by the Ohio Supreme Court. Members of the Toledo school board have no direct role in determining such policy.
Governor Voinovich has proposed a $1.1 billion tax increase to fund education, a proposal that Mr. Silverman called unfair.
“The governor is saying, ‘I’ll increase your taxes $1 billion and promise nothing in return, but trust me – I’m your government,'” he said. “That’s ridiculous.”
Mr. Silverman instead called for a statewide property tax for education.
He said he believes the governor may have made his proposal intentionally unappealing to the public to maintain the status quo.
A constitutional amendment under consideration in Columbus would prevent the Ohio Supreme Court from ruling on the system of educational funding.
“I hate to think it, but it seems that the governor might be acting deliberately underhanded,” he said.
Though school board members have no role in making many of the decisions that he discussed, Mr. Silverman said the board can play a role in education reform.
“In Columbus, they point the boat in a certain direction, but we’re the ones who have to row the boat,” he said.
Mr. Silverman said he has chosen to send his son to the private Hebrew Academy instead of Toledo’s public schools.
The decision was based on his desire for a religious education for his son.
“I think the public schools do a fine job today,” he said, “but they need to focus with laser-like intensity on the core subjects.”
In 1993, Mr. Silverman was the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate for mayor but failed to make it out of the primary. Carty Finkbeiner won the general election.
Mr. Silverman has been endorsed by the Lucas County Democratic Party. The election is Nov. 4.