Consultant says state’s school-funding plan is ‘rational’

By Joshua Benton
Blade Columbus Bureau

Page 3

NEW LEXINGTON, O. — The consultant Ohio hired to fix its school-funding system testified yesterday that the state has done a good job – even if it hasn’t always followed his suggestions.

“It would have been wonderful if they had taken all my recommendations,” said John Augenblick, who helped redesign how public schools are paid for in more than a dozen states. “But it is my opinion that this is a rational system.”

On the day Perry County’s children started the school year, Mr. Augenblick testified for nearly four hours in the courtroom of Common Pleas Judge Linton Lewis, who declared the state’s school-funding system unconstitutional in 1994 because it is unfair to children who live in poor areas, like New Lexington.

Last year, the Ohio Supreme Court agreed, and now the case is back to Mr. Lewis, who will decide if the changes the state has made in the last year are sufficient.

Mr. Augenblick was hired by Ohio in 1997 to create a methodology for determining what is known as the base-level funding: the amount, per pupil, that school dis tricts get from the state each year. Local districts add to that amount from other fund sources.

Mr. Augenblick created a complex formula that looked at how much money Ohio’s most successful districts have spent in recent years, and used an average of those numbers to recommend a standard base level.

But this year, the General Assembly decided to throw out parts of his calculations and change others, lowering the per-student funding levels by more than $200 a year, from $4,269 to $4,063.

In a January letter, Mr. Augenblick seemed critical of the changes in his formula, saying they were “inconsistent” with a rational funding mechanism if they were made simply to lower costs. But yesterday, he said he was satisfied that the changes made were reasonable and passed constitutional muster.

“People were calling me, saying `They’re getting to a lower number.’ But after I learned what the changes in the methodology were, I felt that they were sound.”

He said he was never under any pressure from state officials to keep costs down, and that he has often testified in court cases that other state’s funding systems are unconstitutional.

Attorneys for the coalition of school districts that brought the original lawsuit have argued the per-pupil funding should be almost a thousand dollars a year higher than they are now.

In cross-examining Mr. Augenblick, coalition attorney Nicholas Pittner criticized the consultant, pointing out that he had never taught in Ohio and only once set foot in an Ohio school building.

Mr. Augenblick will retake the stand today for more cross-examination. Yesterday was the third day of hearings on the matter; they will continue through Friday.

Perrysburg school official apologizes

By Joshua Benton and Carl Ryan
Blade Staff Writers

Page 21

Gary Hutchison, first-term president of the Perrysburg school board, publicly apologized yesterday for leaking details of a secret board plea bargain to the mother of an accused criminal – an act that has left some board members wondering if they can trust their president.

“I thought it was important that people knew I was trying to do something to put closure on the event,” Mr. Hutchison said last night.

He made the apology at a 7:30 a.m. board meeting yesterday.

The case involved Daniel Sternsher, 32, the school district’s former technology coordinator. He pleaded guilty to a second-degree misdemeanor charge of criminal damaging last month after be hacked into the district web page and added, among other things, derogatory comments about a high school teacher.

Mr. Hutchison acknowledged to Perrysburg police that he had told the man’s mother, Carol Sternsher, about a plea bargain the board had agreed to during a closed session in March. He said he and Mrs. Sternsher are old friends.

Mr. Hutchison said he “had apologized to [school board members] weeks ago personally,” and that “each one of the board members accepted my apologies.”

He later revised his comments, saying “I’m not so sure the word is `accepted.’ I did not really ask for their acceptance. What I did is told each member that I was the source of the information. They said they understood.”

The incident has enflamed a divided community, one that has faced three tumultuous levy campaigns – all failed – as city residents try to find a way to deal with the growth that has left their schools too crowded.

In August, voters rejected a $42.9 million bond issue that would have provided funds for new school construction. In November, they cleaned house on the school board, electing three board members endorsed by the anti-levy group Citizens for Sensible Taxation. Mr. Hutchison was one of them and was named president by his colleagues.

But board member Grant Garn, after yesterday’s meeting, said that trusting Mr. Hutchison “would be very difficult. But we’ll pick up and go forward.”

Board Vice President John Kevern said he would put the matter behind him. “But whether it’s behind the voters and the public, I don’t know.”

When opponents first heard about Mr. Hutchison’s leak, before the April 21 meeting, they called for his resignation. Mr. Hutchison said that he has not been asked to resign since that meeting.

He said that if he were in a similar situation today, he would act differently.

“I considered what I did as somewhat of a rookie mistake,” he said. “I felt compelled to give a member of our community comfort. I think now I would just grit my teeth and not do it.”

Another levy request – again likely to be divisive – is expected to be on the November ballot.

School-funding issue is dividing husband and wife

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 8

The Kirby family – wife Kathy and husband Albert – came away from last night’s Town Hall Forum more certain than ever how they’ll vote next week.

Trouble is, he’s voting yes; she’s voting no.

With eight panelists throwing out contradictory facts and figures – along with a healthy dose of their personal opinions – it’s not difficult to see how the Kirbys could draw different conclusions.

“We’ll sit down and hear each other’s arguments, but I’m going to vote my conscience,” Mr. Kirby said. “We’ll cancel each other out.”

Mrs. Kirby is working toward her master’s degree in education at Bowling Green State University, and she has a term paper on Oh io’s school-funding system due tonight.

After studying the issues for months, she believes Issue 2 would place an inordinate hardship on Ohio’s poor and might not solve the problem of fair distribution of education funding statewide.

“I still have a lot of questions,” she said. “I’m not sure the final result would be a better education for our students.”

But Mr. Kirby, who works in behavioral modification for Toledo Public Schools’ students at Linques Neighborhood Center, was convinced by state Rep. Lynn Olman (R., Maumee) that the issue’s many questions are outweighed by the extra funding for schools. He had been undecided.

“I feel that it would put more money into education,” he said. “I trust Representative Olman on that.”

Does that mean he doesn’t trust his wife?

“Well, we’re going to have our disagreements,” he admitted.

Others who listened in on the dialogue last night said they have plenty of additional information to think about, but most said they thought the anti-issue forces did a better job of making their case.

Some reacted strongly when Ron Marec, president of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, laid out a list of organizations that were for or against the issue. He said supporters were mostly “Columbus-based politicians” and state bureaucrats being extorted for their support, while community groups were in opposition.

“It did seem that more of your `people-type people’ were opposed,” said Toledo Councilwoman Edna Brown, who said she was “waffling” on her vote before last night. Now, after hearing Mr. Marec’s fiery rhetoric, she said she’ll vote no.

Several singled out state Sen. Linda Furney (D., Toledo), who has advocated an alternative plan that would widen the base of taxable goods in Ohio, while raising the sales tax by only a half a cent.

Mr. Kirby said he was swayed a bit by Ms. Furney’s argument that raising sales taxes and lowering property taxes would unfairly affect renters, who would get no property-tax relief and still get a sales tax increase, even though many renters are in a worse po sition than homeowners to pay more.

Mr. Kirby was extremely upset by that.

“I was very impressed with the senator,” said Amy Fenster, a Bryan high school social studies teacher who asked a question at the forum and opposed Issue 2.

Students mind their business by learning it; School store opens mind to cash, sales, and service

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page ME1

Third graders at Greenwood Elementary are learning the value of a buck.

It’s worth exactly one banana-shaped pencil gripper, one Detroit Lions pencil, and one rainbow-colored eraser.

The 23 children in Roxanne Ward’s class have spent this school year running a school supplies business and have turned the extra change of their schoolmates into almost $1,400.

“They take it seriously,” the Washington Local schoolteacher said. “They’ve learned a lot.”

Every morning between 8:40 and 9, students man the two tables and hawk their wares to 30 or 40 other students itching to spend their lunch money. The students stick to a soft sell – these pencils sell themselves, they might say – and operate a cash register (donated by Food Town) to keep tabs on their income.

On this day, kids start trickling in just after the 8:40 bell, sifting through pencils and pens, checking out the merchandise, much of it sports-related.

“All I have left to get is the Miami Dolphins,” said student Andrew Ford, who has collected pencils featuring every other NFL team. “Do you have the Knicks?” another student asks the shopkeepers.

Profits from the store have been used to buy a CD player for the classroom and classwide fast-food lunches. Next on the wish list: a bird feeder.

There have been problems, to be sure. There was the matter of ordering Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos pencils before the Super Bowl. Expecting a Packer victory, Mrs. Ward ordered almost three times as many Green Bay trinkets as their Bronco equivalents.

Of course, after the Broncos’ win, sales went in another direction.

There have been less than successful marketing decisions. The patriotic pencil cases went unpurchased for weeks. And certain sports teams will always curry more favor among eight year olds than others. Among the football helmet erasers sit plenty of representatives of the New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks, and Atlanta Falcons, none of whom will be winning a Super Bowl anytime soon.

And register minder Austin Willis, 9, said that he thinks there’s one item begging to be sold.

“We should sell those pens with eyeball erasers,” he offers. “They’d be 75 cents.”

Mrs. Ward uses the store in her curriculum, adding up receipts in math and using the dead presi dents on dollar bills in history.

Mom Karen Hubans said that she thinks it’s a great idea.

“It’s great experience for them,” said Ms. Hubans, whose daughter Megan was manning the register. “They learn math and learn about money and selling. These boys love their sports teams and buy all the pencils.

“They don’t use them. They just collect them.”

Springfield tries to return students to the right track; Special classes will provide help for some ninth graders

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page W1

Poorly performing students need extra attention, and a new program in Springfield schools next year will provide just that, administrators say.

The idea is to create a transition program for about 20 eighth graders having trouble in school – those who have failed three or four core courses.

Next year, instead of being held back, they’ll be ninth graders, taking ninth-grade courses from ninth-grade teachers. But they won’t be doing it at Springfield High School.

Instead, they will take their classes at some unspecified off-campus site, where they won’t be subjected to the hustle and bustle of the high school environment.

With the promise of small classes and intensive, personal instruction, teachers and administrators said that they hope the students will be able to straighten out their academic and social lives and rejoin their old classmates in the 10th grade, according to Cynthia Beekley, assistant Springfield superintendent.

“They may have previously been held back a year so they are already seen as kind of odd ducks, and if we move them ahead, we already know they cannot do the work,” Ms. Beekley said. “They become prime candidates for disciplinary problems and an early dropout.”

The idea comes from the Oregon public school system, which has run a similar program for almost five years.

In that time, about 70 per cent of students have gotten back on track to graduation, with some reaching the honor roll or excelling in extracurricular activities, said Oregon superintendent Robert Pfefferle.

“Somewhere you have to try and stop the cycle of failure,” he said. “It’s critical that the parents and the kids go into this with the attitude that this is something they can do. Sometimes it’s like flipping a light switch on.”

In Oregon, the Transitional High School, as it is known, is run as a separate institution, with its own “principal” and staff and housed in the former Clay Elementary School adjacent to the regular high school.

Classes are kept to 15 to 20 students, and students are not allowed any interaction during the day with the main high school. (Exceptions are made for students exceptional in one or two subjects, who can be mainstreamed for an hour or two a day.) There are 35 students in the Oregon program.

The results have been remarkable, said Clay High School principal Rick Heintschel.

Several transitional graduates are on the honor roll, and – just as important – 85 to 90 per cent of those in the program’s first class in 1994 are still enrolled as seniors.

“We could have lost 50 per cent of them by now without transitional [programming],” Mr. Heintschel said.

A number of students and parents have even asked to stay in the program at the end of ninth grade, he added.

Springfield plans to send a letter outlining the program to the parents of all the eight graders who failed multiple courses during the first semester.

In Oregon, reluctant parents are referred to the parents of transition students from previous school years.

Springfield schools haven’t chosen a site for their program, Ms. Beekley said, but it will not be in the high school (which she said would be confusing) or the middle school (which she said would be demeaning).

Defiance College to replace building

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 13

Defiance College will build a student union to replace the one damaged in a July 10 fire, the college’s board of trustees decided Saturday.

The new union, which will cost $4 million, will replace the Enders Student Union and should be ready for use by fall 1999, the college’s president said.

“When we analyzed the cost of renovating the old facility, we realized the cost wouldn’t be much higher to build a new union,” Dr. James Harris said.

The facility will be built on a grassy area just west of the Enders building.

It will be about 34,000 square feet, slightly larger than the Enders building.

“It will be the college’s new front door,” Dr. Harris said of the building, which will be on Clinton Street.

The summer fire began in an electrical outlet and did serious damage to the union’s second floor, which was mostly vacant. Parts of the first floor sustained water and smoke damage, officials said.

Officials estimated the damage at $1 million. The building was built in 1958.

The features of the new union have not been decided, but Dr. Harris said it probably will enable the college to use technology for long-distance learning.

Before the fire, the college was considering whether to renovate or rebuild the union as part of the college’s master plan.

Before the fire, officials estimated the union could be renovated for under $2 million. The fire pushed that figure closer to $2.5 million.

The possibility that the old building might have unknown structural damage contributed to the decision to build a union, Dr. Harris said.

No decision has been made on how to finance the new union. Officials hope to break ground on the project early next year and have the facility ready for students in the fall of 1999.

Students are using the parts of the Enders facility that were not damaged by fire. The cafeteria on the first floor, for example, has been cleared by the Defiance County health department and has been serving students since school began last month.

Students drawn from all over; Strong marketing effort pushes university’s image

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page U4

Like any other college, the University of Toledo needs students.

When they haven’t been forthcoming locally, the university has had to look elsewhere. They may come from Cleveland or Columbus, Beijing or Bahrain, but to university officials, what’s most important isn’t where they come from, it’s where they end up. And for the last decade, UT has done very well in bringing them to Toledo.

Officials were quick to point out that most UT students are still from northwest Ohio, including 46 per cent from Lucas County. But statistics show that UT is now drawing much more heavily from outside the metropolitan Toledo area than it used to.

For the last decade, Lucas County has been producing fewer and fewer public high school graduates – the group traditionally most likely to attend UT. That number has dropped more than 10 per cent in the last six years alone. During that same period, the number of UT students from metro Toledo has dropped by more than 2,600.

Much of that gap has been taken up by students from Cleveland, Columbus, and the rest of Ohio. In 1986, only 15.8 per cent of in-state students at UT were from outside northwest Ohio. Last year, 27.6 per cent were.

University officials said that rise is the result of a conscious effort to push UT’s image statewide, an aggressive marketing campaign to bring in more students from outside Toledo.

“It was a normal evolution of recruitment,” said Scot Lingrell, UT’s associate director of high school relations. “We were looking for expanded markets.”

At the same time, UT became more attractive to students from across the state because of the addition of on-campus housing. A decade ago, there was only room for about 1,700 students to live in dorms. All freshmen were required to live on campus, but the rule was never enforced because there simply wasn’t room for them all.

Three major building projects in the 1990s have brought that total to nearly 2,900, and they’re almost completely full.

“We did it, in large part, for the number of students desiring to come from outside commuting distance,” said Wayne Gates, director of residential life.

For someone new to town, living on campus is often considered preferable to all the worries associated with finding an apartment in a strange place.

The new dorms have all been given themes: the McComas Village for fraternities and sororities, an academic house for honors students, and the International House for both foreign and domestic students. Each has been praised by students.

“It’s taken the stigma away from coming to Toledo,” said Kent Hopkins, UT’s enrollment manager.

Those dorms are high on the list of talking points for UT’s admissions counselors when they hit the road, talking to students around Ohio. The university now has five admissions counselors, each responsible for a separate region of the state. One of them handles Cleveland and its Cuyahoga County suburbs.

These counselors spend much of each fall traveling their regions, talking to students at high schools and at college night events.

“We’re taking the university on the road,” Mr. Hopkins said.

Each counselor spends anywhere between 5 and 12 weeks a year on the road, pushing UT to all comers, then spends the rest of the year following up on those contacts.

The key selling points are UT’s relatively low price, the new dorms, and the convenience of being close enough to home to visit on weekends, but far enough to avoid having Mom show up at the dorm at random hours. And anyone with an Ohio high school diploma is guaranteed admission.

Aside from attracting students, these trips help accomplish another university goal: getting UT’s name out across the region. Institutions drawing on a wider base of applicants are generally more respected than schools that are more parochial.

“The price of UT works well for a lot of families, and it’s a reasonable drive to most parts of the state,” said Sharon Anghilante, a guidance counselor at Rocky River High School in suburban Cleveland. “UT has been working hard to attract people to Toledo.”

Much of the credit for UT’s current popularity goes to the school’s admissions staff, she said. “UT has a very, very strong admissions office,” she said. She singled out a video the university put together for prospective students a few years ago as one of the best she’d seen.

“That video really pumped kids up and got them excited about the school.”

UT’s recruitment efforts don’t stop at the state line, either. Colleges like UT can buy lists of students fitting certain characteristics from the major testing companies. For example, a school could purchase the names and addresses of every Asian-American student in suburban Des Moines with SAT scores over 1400.

Each year, UT targets a few areas that, over the years, have sent multiple students to Toledo. As a result, students with high test scores in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., Cicero, Ill., Rockville, Md., and Sharon Hill, Pa. often receive letters in the mail from the UT admissions office asking them to consider four years in northwest Ohio.

“We might have a really good admissions counselor there, or we might have an alum there who is really promoting the school,” Mr. Lingrell said.

One other group UT has done well in attracting is international students, mostly from Asia and the Middle East. The university enrolls just under 1,600 international students, and a Chronicle of Higher Education study last December said UT ranked seventh in the country in the percentage of doctoral degrees going to international students.

Officials said Toledo’s ethnic mix plays a large part.

“The No. 1 one reason people come here is through friends and family in the area,” said Dawn Malone of UT’s Office of International Services.

Last year, UT enrolled 344 students from India, 292 from China, 158 from Malaysia, and 77 from Kuwait.

Ms. Malone said the university recruits through embassies in foreign lands and through agreements with 72 other colleges worldwide. Through the agreements, UT students are allowed to attend college overseas for a semester, while foreign students come to Toledo.

Judy Hample, UT’s senior vice president for academic affairs, said UT does a better job than most schools in bringing international students into the mainstream of campus life.

“The fact that the homecoming king and queen last year were both international is pretty unusual,” she said.

Attracting minorities a priority at UT Law; Aggressive recruiting keeps admissions stable

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page F1

In 1990, a group of black law students and alumni at the University of Toledo decided to turn the tables on the college of law; they graded it for a change.

On minority issues, they said, the law school was only barely above water. It eeked out a D average, they said.

If UT deserved a D, there’s little doubt what grade they would give the public law schools in California and Texas – a big red F.

Both university systems decided to end affirmative action in admission policies, and the effects have been quick and decisive. Last year, the University of California-Berkeley law school accepted 75 African-Americans to its first-year law class.

This year, that number tumbled to 14. UCLA and the University of Texas saw similar drops. Most of those who were admitted decided they’d rather spend their law school years elsewhere: All 14 Berkeley candidates turned the school down. UCLA will have fewer than 10 blacks attending, and Texas might have none.

But the University of Toledo will buck the trend this year. College of Law Dean Albert Quick said that he expects 12 African-Americans to arrive in the fall, doubling last year’s total.

“We’ve never made a stronger effort to bring in minorities than now,” Mr. Quick said.

Blacks still make up well under 10 per cent of the law school’s student body, but their increasing numbers could help UT avoid the fate of California-Berkeley, UCLA, and Texas – a homogenous classroom.

African-American attorneys and law students in Toledo almost universally called ending affirmative action a mistake. “This short-sighted, myopic view is ruining the future,” said Lafe Tolliver, a local black attorney. “It’s just bringing back the stereotypic views of old.

“I chuckle when white folks complain about affirmative action. They’ve had it for hundreds of years.”

From 1992 to 1995, the number of blacks joining each incoming class at UT Law ranged from nine to 19, numbers comparable to many other regional law schools.

But last year’s total – only six African-Americans in a class of 190 – alarmed some. That number meant blacks made up barely 3 per cent of the class of 1999. “The commitment to minority issues here seems to be quite low,” said Rory Smith, a second-year law student and one of those six. “Professors don’t expect us to be able to perform in class, and when we do, they seem surprised.”

In contrast, Ohio State University’s law school had about 25 African-Americans enter last year, more than 10 per cent of the class. Ohio Northern University’s class was about 13 per cent minority, and the University of Michigan’s law school enrolled 21 black first-year students, almost 7 per cent of the class.

The numbers were even more surprising, since last year’s UT class was the first recruited under the leadership of Mr. Quick, who had previously been dean of the law school at Ohio Northern, in Ada. There, he was recognized nationally for his work in promoting African-Americans in the legal profession. He was awarded the Medallion of Justice from the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association for his efforts, and he is a published authority on how to raise minority representation on law school campuses.

Mr. Quick said the law school recruits at historically black colleges and makes special efforts to target prospective minority students. But African-American applicants to law schools are dropping nationwide, and keeping a class multiracial is growing even more difficult.

Administrators say they try to keep law classes diverse because lawyers must be able to determine the merits of many different points of view.

“In a classroom that’s mostly male, white, or anything, you miss out on some great discussion,” said Kent Lollis, a former associate dean at Ohio Northern University’s law school.

Second-year UT law student Praveena Kaw said she was in a family law class last year when a woman said matter-of-factly, “Most American Indians are alcoholics.”

“I told her you can’t really generalize like that,” Ms. Kaw, who is South African, said. “But there’s a tendency here to let racist comments go. Being the only person of color in a class, you often don’t want to speak up.”

Some whites have had only a handful of conversations with minorities, and a diverse classroom can help bridge that gap.

“I’ve had white students come up to me after class and confide they felt uncomfortable with minority clients,” said Rick Mitchell, a black Toledo attorney who teaches part time at UT. “Whites have primarily been in predominantly white institutions, and that affects their perspectives on the world.”

“It’s important for white folks to see black people in positions of authority,” Mr. Tolliver said. “Law school is a good place to show that. Whites need black professors as much as minorities need them.”

UT’s law school currently has only one full-time minority faculty member, Professor Joan Bullock. As recently as 1990, there were none. Ms. Bullock serves on the committee in charge of appointing new faculty, and she said the university is doing all it can to recruit minority professors.

Mr. Quick said two faculty spots would be filled soon, possibly by minorities.

When Ms. Bullock was herself a UT law student in the early 1980s, there were no black faculty. “But I felt welcome,” she said. “There was more isolation, fewer opportunities to make friends, but I still felt welcome.”

Now there are organizations aimed specifically at making blacks feel welcome at the UT law school. The professional association of Toledo’s black attorneys, the Thurgood Marshall Law Association, provides mentors and financial aid to minority law students. While black law students are becoming a rarity in California and Texas, UT’s Black Law Students Association is one of the school’s largest student groups.

Getting into law school has traditionally been more of a numbers game than getting into other college programs. Most top undergraduate schools examine dozens of factors – teacher recommendations, student essays, extracurricular activities, and volunteer work, along with grades and test scores – before deciding a student’s fate. But in America’s law schools, admissions decisions are often based entirely on two numbers: a student’s grade point average and a score on the Law School Admissions Test, the standardized exam for all prospective law students.

And since standardized tests long have been accused of bias against minorities, critics say relying on LSAT scores slants the system against blacks. On average, African-Americans score 10 points lower than whites on the LSAT.

“It’s clearly biased,” Ms. Kaw said. “There’s an economic and social understanding that’s lacking between the people who [devise] the test and the minorities who take them.”

“The ways in which we learn are different,” Mr. Smith said. Minority students fare worse on multiple-choice exams, like the LSAT, than whites, he said. Ironically, most exams in law schools nationwide are essay-based.

But officials at the Law School Admissions Council, which administers the LSAT, said the test is fair to members of all ethnic groups.

“There have been accusations against the LSAT in the past,” Mr. Lollis, now LSAC’s associate executive director, said. But test makers now make special efforts to have more minorities writing questions and examining them for bias, he said. “There is still an unmeasurable social bias, but we believe we’re doing a good job keeping the test fair.”

“The test’s job is to predict a student’s grades during his first year of classes,” Mr. Quick said. “It has done a good job of doing that.” He added that the test weeded out many students who might not be able to survive law school.

“The alternative is to bring in too many people, sit them all down, and tell them, ‘Look to your left, look to your right. One of you won’t be here next year,'” Mr. Quick said. But with the costs associated with a year of law school, he said, that alternative isn’t very attractive.

Even though he calls them useful, Mr. Lollis said colleges over-emphasize test scores in admissions decisions because they can be easily quantified, and because higher LSAT scores make schools look better to those who try to rank America’s law schools, like U.S. News and World Report magazine. “This isn’t the schools’ fault,” Mr. Lollis said. “This is the fault of U.S. News.”

Every year, the magazine publishes rankings of the country’s top colleges, law schools, medical schools, graduate schools – even hospitals and mutual funds. And every year, academics protest having their institutions reduced to a single number, arguing that trying to split hairs between number 14 and number 15 is absurd. The college rankings issue is U.S. News’ most popular each year.

“We’re definitely caught up in the rankings game in this society,” Mr. Quick said. “All schools are sensitive to U.S. News and how they rank you.” LSAT scores figure prominently in the magazine’s formula.

Mr. Quick said he knew some Ohio law firms that used the U.S. News rankings to determine which law schools to visit on recruitment trips. A low ranking could mean even a top graduate gets passed over.

Last year, 150 law school deans from across the country signed a letter asking U.S. News to stop ranking schools. “But the ironic thing is, when they get ranked highly, those same deans are the first to mention their ranking in the alumni newsletter,” Mr. Quick said.

Could affirmative action die the same death in Ohio it has in Texas and California? California has historically dealt with more racial strife than the Buckeye state, but all it took in Texas was a single lawsuit from white students who felt they had been unjustly denied admission.

Mr. Tolliver said a court here could easily echo that Texas ruling. “The courts are very conservative by nature, and could easily adopt the rulings of other courts as guidelines,” he said. He said he doubts a state court would make such a ruling, but federal jurists might. “There are a lot of federal judges appointed by Reagan and Bush who might be sympathetic [to anti-affirmative action arguments]. That would be the death knell of minorities in the law.”

Mr. Quick estimated that, without affirmative action, the UT law school would likely have only half the minority enrollment it does today. “I hope it never comes to that,” he said.

Trustees approve ‘small’ 4.6% raise for tuition at UT

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 19

As it has every year for the last decade, the University of Toledo’s board of trustees approved a budget yesterday that raises tuition for students.

Beginning in the fall, undergraduates will pay 4.6 per cent more than they did last year, an increase several trustees criticized as too small.

UT President Frank Horton said the tuition increase was $210 per term below the assumptions made by the Ohio Board of Regents. “We are not up to the OBOR levels,” he said, “but we think this is a good balance.”

Officials said not raising tuition to those levels will cost the university $4 million a year in lost revenue, and some said the cost to students should be even higher.

“If our budget comes back at the end of the year unbalanced, this loss will hurt us for years to come,” said trustee Ronald Langenderfer.

Nationwide, college tuition has outstripped inflation since the 1970s. This year, every four-year public university in Ohio is raising tuition more than the inflation rate.

The largest increase is at Miami University, where tuition is being raised 6 per cent.

Had UT’s tuition increased only at the rate of inflation – that is, the average rate of all other consumer goods – next year’s tuition and fees would be nearly $800 less than today’s.

The budget projects a $10.7 million increase in revenue, more than half of it from tuition increases. It assumes a 3 per cent decline in enrollment, in part because of the university’s switch this fall from a quarter system to a semester system.

Since semesters are longer and more costly than quarters, many students crammed in their work before the switch. As a result, May’s commencement was the largest in UT history, with 3,312 students graduating.

The $188 million budget is projected to balance. It invests $1.2 million in computers for student use and $1.5 million in scholarships. Nearly all employees will receive 4 per cent raises, including administrators, campus police, and clerical workers.

Dr. Horton’s salary will be determined separately from budget negotiations, but he is contractually guaranteed an annual raise equal to or greater than what the university’s employees receive.

He makes $174,408 a year and receives a house in Ottawa Hills and a car as part of his compensation package.