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OEA Optimistic About SB 376’s School Funding Proposals

[November 6, 2020] Like many Ohioans, Ohio Education Association (OEA) leaders eagerly watched Friday morning’s announcement from State Senators Peggy Lehner (R- Kettering) and Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) introducing companion legislation to House Bill 305, known as the Fair School Funding Plan. OEA welcomes discussion about state reforms to fix Ohio’s broken school funding system and remains hopeful for a solution to address the needs of Ohio students.

“Ohio’s current school funding system falls far short of meeting the needs of students and the school districts that educate them, and OEA has long advocated for state lawmakers to address the failures of Ohio’s school funding system,” OEA President Scott DiMauro said. “Ohio must end the band-aid approach to the school funding formula and enact a student-centered formula that is equitable, adequate, predictable, and that ensures that all students have the resources to succeed regardless of where they live or their family’s income.”

The Senate plan builds upon earlier proposals to reform the state’s unconstitutional funding formula. OEA urged revisions to the 2019 version of HB 305 to improve the overall equity of the formula through changes to the local capacity percentage range, among other suggested modifications.

“OEA appreciates the work of Senate Sponsors Lehner and Sykes, as well as HB 305 co-sponsors Reps. Patterson and Cupp to improve upon prior drafts of this bill,” DiMauro said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the critical need for Ohio to adopt a new school funding formula to meet the needs of all 1.7 million kids served by Ohio’s public schools. Now is the time to act.”

“For more than 20 years, Ohio lawmakers have failed to remedy the state’s harmful school funding system, which was deemed unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court in 1997’s landmark DeRolph v. State of Ohio ruling,” DiMauro added. “Senate Bill 376 and House Bill 305 represent an important pathway to finally address some of the greatest issues raised by that decision.”

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