School Funding Formula…so what is the answer?

Thanks to a Lobbyist for this article from the Columbus Dispatch.   We have previously mentioned the lawsuit ‘DeRolph versus the State of Ohio’.  The Ohio supreme Court deemed that the current funding formula for the State funding of schools is unconstitutional.  Unfortunately, to date no one has been able to figure out how to make it constitutional.  State Representatives CuPatterson have been working for quite

From the Columbus Dispatch:

A new school funding bill has $1.5 billion more to spend. It has strong support in the Ohio House. But difficult work needs to be done to make it constitutional.

Two Ohio lawmakers who have long labored to come up with a constitutional school-funding formula expressed optimism Wednesday that with $1.5 billion more a year they’ll finally have some success. However, they warned, hard, “awkward” work lies ahead.
State Reps. Bob Cupp, R-Lima, and John Patterson, D-Jefferson, started the process of laying out their bill to the House Finance Committee, saying that many more hours of detail and expert testimony are still coming. If they succeed, they’ll finally put to rest the fallout from a lawsuit originating in the early 1990’s that resulted in four rulings from the state Supreme Court that Ohio’s school funding system is unconstitutional. In order to be constitutional, the formula must provide a “thorough and efficient” education for each Ohio student.
As he discussed the price tag, Patterson said, “We must consider this an investment. An investment in our future.”
But designing that investment in any state is anything but simple. Cupp explained how under the existing formula, sharp drops in valuation on a district where, say, a coal-fired power plant closes can demand more state funding for that district and less to others where nothing’s changed. Meanwhile, current funding caps and guarantees mean that fully 82 percent of Ohio’s schools are funded in ways that don’t fit the existing formula.
Cupp explained that the latest proposal, House Bill 305, seeks to determine a district’s “capacity” to fund schools by blending factors such as income wealth with property wealth.
It also seeks to customize expected costs for districts by accounting for special needs of students, such as those who don’t speak English as their first language. And as the bill seeks to deal with those and myriad other questions, it has to address the funding inequality between Ohio districts.
A school-funding expert in September determined that the as-introduced version of the bill got a failing grade on that subject, closing the per-student funding gap between the top and bottom 20% by only $23 per year.  Rep. Thomas West, D-Canton, is one of the 66 cosponsors of the bill in the Ohio House. Even so, he said work needs to be done.
“This bill has been over the river and through the woods, but I don’t think we’ve reached grandma’s house,” he said.  Patterson said that he and Cupp have added a ninth subcommittee of experts to the eight they already had to address the question of equity. But he said, a solution will be difficult.
“We heard these concerns loud and clear,” he said as he described the task. “How do we define equity? What is it? How do we pay for it? It’s going to be an ongoing discussion and, again, it’s going to be awkward, but we have to have this open, transparent discussion.”  West said a successful result will be worth it.
“I think we all want to get to where we can finally say our school funding formula is constitutional,” he said.
(LFC Comments: This is a redistribution of the wealth program at the State level that may move the needle a bit in education, but probably will not help most seniors in Lake County by reducing local property taxes.  Money is not always the answer – without the traditional family there will continue to be struggles.   In our opinion, it does NOT take a village. By the way, how about some help for the home schoolers?)

Categories: Education, Lake, Uncategorized


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