Strickland's first budget was clearly hostile to charters. The budget he introduced this year would have broken them. So, too, would the version later passed by the Ohio House. Were it not for charters being rescued by the Republican-run Senate, E Prep would not have survived.
"We might have lasted another year, then we would have been out of business," said Zitzner. E Prep's founder thinks Cleveland schools chief Eugene Sanders appreciates the role schools such as E Prep are playing in educating impoverished youngsters. But that's not enough to offset a hostile state government and a woefully ambivalent City Hall.
Strickland has also ranted about the "destructive influence" of charters on public education, complaining that some charter founders are motivated mainly by self-enrichment.
Some charter founders are greedy. And yes, John Zitzner is successful. But he didn't make his money at E Prep, courtesy of the state taxpayers. He made it selling his successful software company to Xerox. Zitzner could have remained with Xerox and made an even larger pile of dough, but he opted instead to found a school that might help his hometown.
"It was biblical," he once explained. "I felt this calling."
Strickland's calling seems to involve being dishonest with voters on this issue. Friday, in response to a question at the City Club, the governor had the audacity to praise E Prep's success, adding, "I would like to see more schools doing as E Prep is doing."
So, just a few weeks after trying to wreck the school, Strickland tries to tell us he loves it. The man has no shame.