By Sarah Thomas
The Reynoldsburg Board of Education voted to send a resolution to Ohio’s senators and representatives in opposition to terms in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act bill under consideration in Congress.
In the current wording of the bill, corporations are still allowed to deduct business expenses. However, K-12 teachers will no longer be able to deduct money that they spend out of their own pockets for classrooms and other school-related supplies, which the board members believe are clearly business expenses.
Board member Neal Whitman proposed the “Resolution Regarding Elimination of Tax Deduction for Teacher Business Expenses.” The meeting was the first-time other members of the board had the opportunity to read it.
Whitman said the resolution was quickly put together because he feels the bill is moving surprisingly fast in Congress and the board couldn’t wait until next meeting to vote on it. There had to be several amendments to wording of the resolution before it could even be discussed by the board.
The resolution was not unanimous, as board member Elaine Tornero abstained. She said she felt like the board was starting down a partisan road and should focus more on the policies and taxpayers in their district.
“Exactly,” said Board President Joe Begeny. “It’s our taxpayers, that are a part of our community, that are our teachers that use that money to educate our students.”
Tornero said teachers should get a write-off, but doesn’t “feel it’s the right move for the board to begin constantly petitioning our legislature.”
“I completely understand your point on that, however we are asking for our students, that’s why we are here,” Begeny said. “A lot of conversation has gone on about how we as a community need to take better ownership of our district and we need to move forward and challenge some of those people. One voice is one person and while everybody has the right to do that, imagine if every board in the state of Ohio actually petitioned and sent something to their legislatures talking about this. Then perhaps some of those people who created the unfounded mandates…and all those other things we struggle with on a day-to-day basis, maybe this will help them listen to us for a change as opposed to just being one voice.”
“I don’t see this as a partisan issue,” Whitman said. “I would rather this bill pass in spite of actions that we take than with our silent dissent.”
Whitman and Begeny, along with board members Debbie Dunlap and Rob Truex voted for the resolution, passing the motion and sending petition.