Friday, December 03, 1999

Teacher union head runs for Ohio post

Mooney's goal: More funding from state

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati Federation of Teachers President Tom Mooney will run for the presidency of the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) this spring.

        After 20 years heading the local union, Mr. Mooney said he hopes the change will give him greater influence in the fight for equitable state funding.

        “One of my biggest disappointments is not having yet seen the reform of school funding so that teachers, principals and administrators can focus on improving education instruction and not constantly focusing so much energy on fund raising and passing levies,” Mr. Mooney said.

        “The state is becoming more and more heavy-handed in governing education — what to teach, when to teach it — but they still won't belly up to the bar and guarantee equitable funding.”

        His 11th two-year term as CFT president expires in May 2001. If he wins the OFT presidency, he probably will resign his CFT post before then. No one else has announced a candidacy. OFT President Ron Marec will retire next year after 22 years in that job.

        The OFT election is in early April; the new president would be sworn in immediately. OFT has about 20,000 members in about 50 local school districts, including Cincinnati, Cleveland and Toledo, Mr. Mooney said.

        Even if he loses his bid for the OFT post, Mr. Mooney said he won't run for the CFT presidency again.

        “It's just time for a change. I feel like I've accomplished a lot on behalf of the teachers and the schools, but nobody in their right mind would ever do this job that long; it's so intense,” he said.

        Mr. Mooney said he won't leave before the union and administrators sign a new contract. The union's current three-year contract expires Dec. 31.

        He lists his biggest achievements as raising the status of teaching as a profession in Cincinnati, giving teachers a louder voice in setting educational policy and boosting teacher salaries, which now are the second highest among Hamilton County's 22 districts.

        “Tom Mooney is a bright, intelligent guy who has tried to really lead an educational reform movement in Cincinnati,” Mr. Marec said. “Despite the fact that Cincinnati is really a trailblazer, Tom seems to be a prophet without honor in his own country. ... If he's elected, OFT's gain will be Cincinnati's loss.”

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