Ohio’s Broken School Funding System
Twenty-four years after the state supreme court found Ohio’s school funding system unconstitutional in the first DeRolph vs. State of Ohio decision, Ohio’s students are still waiting for lawmakers to address the major shortcomings of Ohio’s school funding system. The current school funding formula does not provide adequate funding nor is it driven by what constitutes a high-quality education. It forces communities to choose: More property taxes or fewer opportunities for their kids.
Ohio must enact a predictable, student-centered formula that ensures that all students have the resources to succeed regardless of where they live or their family’s income. Additionally, the school funding formula should directly fund vouchers and charter schools rather than using deductions from the funding of local public schools.
The Fair School Funding Plan is the Solution
House Speaker Bob Cupp’s Fair School Funding Plan represents years of work by legislators, local school leaders, and education finance experts to craft meaningful alternatives to the current way Ohio funds education. It seeks to base funding on what students need based on the actual cost of providing a high-quality education, while accounting for each local community’s ability to pay for that and reducing the need for frequent property tax increases.
The Fair School Funding Plan has twice passed the Ohio House with broad bipartisan support, most recently when it was included in the House budget this year. But the Senate’s version of a school funding plan, which was drafted behind closed doors without any input from educators, fails to address any of the issues that make our current system unconstitutional and won’t provide what the 90 percent of Ohio kids who attend public schools need.
While the House-passed Fair School Funding Plan would increase state education funding 25 percent for public schools when it is fully phased in, the Senate plan increases funding for private school vouchers by 25 percent while providing only a 1.5 percent increase in base per pupil funding for public school students. The Senate wants to give public school kids just $90 more than they received in 2019, and because it fails to codify any permanent formula, it’s anyone’s guess how much our kids will get beyond the end of this 2-year budget cycle.
The House version of the Fair School Funding Plan gives our schools and communities what they need to thrive into the future.
The future of this critical bill lies in the hands of your State Senator.
Use the prompt below to send a letter and urge legislators to fix school funding now by backing the House-passed Fair School Funding Plan
Subject: Support the House-passed Fair School Funding Plan
As an Ohio parent, I urge you to back House Speaker Bob Cupp’s Fair School Funding Plan as budget negotiations continue. The Fair School Funding Plan will finally fix the state’s unconstitutional school funding system so Ohio can deliver on the promise of providing the high-quality education all of our children deserve. The Senate school funding plan falls short.
The Fair School Funding Plan provides an accurate, predictable method to determine how much funding schools actually need and how much local communities can afford to contribute to that. The current school funding formula is unconstitutional and forces communities to make an impossible choice: higher property taxes or fewer opportunities for their kids. Districts must guess how much money they’ll have to spend on critical programs without a permanent state formula on the books or a crystal ball to foresee how much more local property taxpayers will agree to spend. The current Senate plan does nothing to address that.
The Fair School Funding Plan was developed over three and a half years with input from legislators, parents, teachers, school district administrators, education finance experts, and community members. When fully phased in, it would provide a 25 percent increase in state funding for the 90 percent of Ohio kids who attend public schools. Under the Senate plan, Ohio’s public school students would receive only 1.5 percent more funding than in 2019 – just 90 bucks.
Ohio’s students need fully and fairly funded public schools and they need the stability of a permanent, predictable formula. The Fair School Funding Plan provides that.
You have the once-in-a-generation chance to actually fix school funding in Ohio.
Do the right thing. Support the Fair School Funding Plan.