School Funding - Focus for Advocacy -
Updated: Apr 7
Funding Public Education in the State Budget – HB 33
The Ohio Constitution requires the Legislature to provide funds for a high quality public education that is equally available across the state. Despite the DeRolph case that found that state lawmakers did not meet their obligation to Ohio citizens, the state funding system needs an overhaul.
Ohio’s funding system is a joint venture between the Legislature and local communities. The Legislature uses state resources and local communities contribute proceeds from local taxes to fund public schools operated by 610 public school districts. The state’s contribution is essential to making sure that all children and communities are treated fairly – that regardless of the local community’s ability to fund its schools, there will be equal access to sufficient funds.
Funding for public education is approved in the state budget. The Fair School Funding plan was partially funded in the last state budget. If lawmakers continue the plan in this budget cycle and fully fund it, Ohio will finally have a remedy. We are close!
HB 33 is the house version of the budget for the next two years, that will take effect on July 1, 2023. The budget includes the Fair School Funding model and proposes, a funding increase that amounts to 67% of the required increase that would make the system fully funded and constitutional.
LWVO Supports the Fair School Funding plan and full funding in the 2024-25 biennium.
Why LWVO supports HB 33
The Fair School Funding plan is a solid funding strategy that when fully funded, achieves equity and adequacy. The formula is a constitutional solution to the vexing problem of meeting the needs of our extremely diverse school districts and communities.
Public education has to be Ohio’s funding priority. It serves the common good. It is available everywhere and includes everyone; it is accountable to the public and locally elected school boards; it is regulated to ensure quality teaching and learning; and it honors the separation of church and state. Unlike private education, public education is a democratic institution that belongs to the public.
The state needs to do its share to fund public schools and stop shifting that responsibility to local taxpayers and perpetuating inequality.
The state budget expresses what we care about as a state. A constitutional system of funding public education, has to be a priority – not tax cuts for the wealthy or an unaccountable private education system. It affects the quality of life for all of Ohio and its reputation in the nation.
Education choices outside the public system do not benefit everyone, are not accountable, and are not required to be honest or true. They do not serve the common good.
HB 33 would be even better with these changes:
Use up to date data to inform the basic cost level.
Create a nonpartisan body to monitor implementation of the plan and recommend modifications to ensure that the funding plan achieves its goals.
Removes expansion of public funds for nonpublic education and charter schools.
What you can do now
Express your support for full funding of the Fair School Funding formula to lawmakers. Calling is very effective. These legislators need to hear from you while the bill is in the House:
Your representative in the House and Senate
House Speaker Jason Stephens;
Rep. Jay Edwards, Chair, House Finance Committee
Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney, Ranking member, House Finance Committee
Rep. Adam Bird, Chair, House Education Committee
Ask your local school leaders, educators, PTA members, civic leaders and organizations, and friends to join you. Help them navigate the system.
As a League member, get your League to write a letter of support for full funding of fair school funding to the legislative delegation that represents your League.
Educate your community about public education and democracy, and the importance of funding a constitutional system. Join forces with your school district to explain the system.
Write a letter to the editor about the need to finish the job in this budget!
Respond to action alerts from LWVO.
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