On March 24, 1997 the Ohio Supreme Court declared in the DeRolph decision that the funding system, in place for Ohio public schools, “failed to provide for a thorough and efficient system of common schools” as required by our state constitution. Since that time, a series of fixes and patches have been proposed in an attempt to ease our state’s school funding challenges. To date, this difficult problem has not been solved.
Last Thursday, Governor Kasich unveiled his proposal for a new system of funding Ohio public schools. I am encouraged by Governor Kasich’s school funding proposal, not because of the specifics of this plan (which I feel merit close study) but rather because this proposal has reinvigorated a state-wide conversation about this most important topic.
This week, Ohio Superintendents are to receive spreadsheets detailing how this funding proposal will specifically impact individual school districts. This will be most important information and once this information is released, we will share this information on this blog.
According to figures released last week in the Kasich school funding proposal, an additional $1.5B will be added to the school funding system in the upcoming two years. This additional funding is extremely important as $1.8B has been subtracted from Ohio’s school funding support over the past two years. As such, it appears the financial cuts in K-12 education funding, will be made permanent under this new school funding proposal. That is certainly difficult news.
Moreover, it appears that property taxes will continue to be the main funding source for K-12 schools, especially at the local level, and that local tax levies will be required to offset the reduction in financial support coming from the state level.
There are also several positive components to Governor Kasich’s plan. These include additional funding for special education and gifted education. Additionally, a grant to incentivize “Innovation in Education” is included as part of the overall funding proposal.
In the end, I am again encouraged that a new conversation has been ignited by Governor Kasich on the topic of school funding. I am a passionate believer in the value of public education. I feel that if we can solve this challenging school funding issue, then the children of this state will receive the high quality education they both need and deserve in order to become productive citizens in our new global society.2/6/2013