LIMA — Gov. John Kasich wants every third-grader in the state to be able to read. So do area school officials, but they say it isn't always as easy as that.“There isn't a single person that doesn't want every child reading by third grade, however once again are there going to be mandates put in place with no fiscal resources to help districts make sure they provide the appropriate interventions if needed,” Lima schools Superintendent Karel Oxley said Wednesday after Kasich's Mid-Biennium Review. Kasich proposes intervention for pupils having problems with reading at the early grade levels. Those still not reading at grade level by the end of the third grade would not be passed onto the fourth grade. Bath schools Superintendent Dale Lewellen agrees in principle with the proposal, but isn't sure it will end up being as cut and dry as Kasich proposes.“We would like to think that we could put our foot down and draw a hard line in the sand, but I would be surprised if this one turns out to work that way,” he said.Kaich also proposed a new and tougher rating system for schools. Saying parents need a clearer way to know how schools are doing, Kasich wants to assign letter grades (A to F) to schools and districts, replacing the current rating system. A separate system would be developed for career and technical schools. Oxley wonders about a system for all schools, including private schools getting voucher students.“Is it going to be applied to all schools that receive any type of state or federal dollars?” she said. “We have talked endlessly about the fact that everyone needs to be held to the same criteria. If a voucher school is getting public dollars, will they be held to same criteria in this new report card.”The new system would bump most school districts down a letter grade on state-issued report cards. Schools currently at the highest ratings, Oxley said, could easily be moved to a B letter grade. “The idea of just getting a flat-level grade is significant for an urban district,” she added. “When a person sees a letter grade it does impact their response to that without looking deeper into the details.”Kasich also is pushing Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson's school plan to remove seniority from staffing decisions, eliminate ongoing teacher contracts, share some local tax revenue with charter schools, and give school officials authority to extend the school day or school year without teacher input.Elida teacher Tim Myers, who serves on the state teachers union board, said the plan is “just Senate Bill 5 revisited.” Unions around the state have been highly critical of it. Myers also worries about teachers working in schools deemed to be ineffective being subject to retesting. It's not fair to evaluate teachers solely on student performance, Myers said, adding that it will detract good teachers from joining the profession. Oxley worries of it keeping teachers from wanting to work in certain districts. “The challenge will be getting dedicated, top-notch teachers to take on any school that is not labeled at the highest standard,” she said. “We really want creative, energized teachers to take on the challenge of moving under-performing groups of students to higher levels. We have really created a barrier to being able to accomplish that.”Among the myriad proposals he outlined Wednesday, Kasich also proposed an income tax cut for Ohioans in all tax brackets, to be funded with revenue expected from oil and gas production from horizontal wells (known as “fracking”) in the state's Utica and Marcellus shale formations. The revenue from new, high-volume horizontal wells will allow Ohioans' income taxes to be cut by an estimated $900 million to $1 billion when Ohio reaches peak production in about five years, Kasich said.The revenue would come from a new severance tax on natural gas liquids. Currently, Ohio has no such tax, and the state would remain more than competitive with other states' such taxes even with the new tax.Area legislators are far from sold on the idea. Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina, and Rep. Matt Huffman, R-Lima, said Wednesday they have more questions than answers about the proposal and don't believe taxing a blossoming industry for a small tax cut to Ohioans is a productive move.Huffman and Faber are strong supporters of cutting the state income tax.“We do want this industry to continue to invest here and be successful,” Huffman said. “I don't know what the amount of tax cut would amount to for the average Ohioan. If you're making $50,000 and get a $20 tax cut, I'm not sure that's worth hurting an industry and keeping it from growing.”Faber also questioned the value of the tax cut, saying its promised value doesn't come for years.“I am almost always against plans that trade tax increases today for the promise of tax cut tomorrow,” Faber said. “The promised cuts never arrive. I also worry about this pot of money developing that other people will want to spend on some pet project.”The current tax cut Ohioans are receiving as they file for the 2011 tax year is 4.6 percent, much larger than what Ohioans would see early on from the drilling tax, Faber said. The industry is expected to be “extremely lucrative,” Faber said, but it is not fully developed yet.“It is fair to taxpayers for this industry to pay its fair share, but what that is remains an open question,” Faber said. “It's a complex issue. I have as many questions about how the income tax cut would work.”You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.