“The Ohio Education Association applauds the Ohio House for prioritizing the students of our state in the budget bill passed in that chamber this week. This budget includes significant investments in public schools—including a plan to increase the minimum teacher salary to address growing teacher shortage issues—and it promotes a number of sound public education policies, like repealing the punitive mandatory retention provision of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee while maintaining an emphasis on the importance of literacy for our children. Additionally, this budget proposal makes school breakfast and lunch accessible to more children by having the state cover the difference in the cost between free and reduced-price meals.
More importantly, the House has demonstrated its commitment to working to fully and fairly fund the public schools that serve 90 percent of students in our state. This budget measure increases state funding to public schools by nearly $1 billion over the biennium by ensuring updated data is used in the Fair School Funding Plan (FSFP) formula to determine the actual costs of providing an excellent education to every child while continuing to provide more of the funding necessary to fulfill that promise, when the FSFP is fully implemented. OEA thanks the House for taking this important step forward.
The budget bill now moves to the Senate for consideration, and OEA urges our state Senators to build on the positive momentum of the House’s work and pull back on the proposed expansion of voucher schemes that would amount to near universal eligibility in our state. The Senate must do the right thing for Ohio’s 1.6 million public school students, and OEA looks forward to working with lawmakers from both parties to ensure the best budget bill possible is adopted for the next biennium.
OEA would like to thank House Speaker Jason Stephens, Leader Allison Russo, House Finance Committee Chair Jay Edwards, and Ranking Member Bride Rose Sweeney for their bipartisan efforts to bring the budget to this point. The budget proposal they produced puts Ohio students first and shows that the House supports what Ohioans believe so strongly, that public education matters in our state.”