Take Action for Education

ADVOCATE FOR FAIR SCHOOL FUNDING NOW!

 

A Long-Standing Need - TAKE ACTION NOW

The Ohio Constitution mandates that the legislature provide adequate funds that are distributed fairly so that every student in every district has the benefit of a sound education regardless of a community’s capacity to fund a high quality education.

More than 20 years after the Ohio Supreme Court found Ohio’s funding system to be unconstitutional in the first DeRolph decision, a remedy is at hand. In the closing days of the 133rd General Assembly Rep. John Patterson (D) and Rep. Bob Cupp (R), and Sen. Peggy Lehner (R) and Sen. Vernon Sykes (D) introduced a genuine solution the Fair School Funding Plan. It became Sub. HB 305 and SB 376. After clearing the House on a 87-9 vote, the Senate Finance Committee failed to act on the legislation.

With the start of the 134th General Assembly, Rep. Bride Sweeney (D) and Rep. Jamie Callender (R) reintroduced the plan as HB 1 with 66 cosponsors. In April, it was folded into HB 110, the biennium budget bill.

The legislature has a new opportunity to make public school funding in Ohio fair.

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In the News 

Ohio lawmakers finally have a chance to pass a fair school funding plan by Susie Kaeser - 11/13/2020

 At last, a school funding plan that is fair by Susan Kaeser - 03/13/2021

Will the Ohio Senate Invest in Public School Students? by Susan Kaeser - 06/06/2021

Resources

HB 1 Bill Analysis - from the Ohio LSC

 

Fair School Funding Plan Presentation - note that Sub H.B. 305 was re-introduced as HB1 this GA.

Impact by School District if HB1 was passed in full 

LWVO Testimony

LWVO Education Advocacy Agenda

Lawmakers Have a Clear Choice

The LWVO supports the Fair School Funding Plan as introduced in HB110 and rejects the senate proposal offered on June 1 in the substitute budget bill.

The two plans offer starkly different priorities. The senate proposal seeks to minimize the state’s investment, and favors individual rights over the common good. The Fair School Funding Plan promotes equal opportunity, reduces reliance on property taxes, and upholds the civic purpose of education in a democracy.

LWVO supports the Fair School Funding Plan because it is both adequate and equitable.  It makes possible a 21st century education for the children of Ohio regardless of where they live or their unique needs. It is designed to strengthen the public system and make equal opportunity attainable.

LWVO rejects the senate’s version as introduced on June 1 because it underfunds public education, fails to lift the burden on local tax payers, and broadly expands private education at public expense.

Click here for testimony from the Fair School Funding Plan working group that summarizes the difference between the two approaches.

Why Fair School Funding and WHY NOW

Public education funding in Ohio has long needed revision to satisfy two critical features of a fair system: Provide adequate resources for a high quality education, and distribute state funds in a way that promotes equity. This means setting a base cost at a high enough level to provide for the actual costs of educating children, limiting reliance on local property taxes which are inherently unfair, and distributing state funds in a way that ensures that resources for a high quality education will be available regardless of a local community’s capacity to fund its public schools or the needs of its students. 

Here are some reasons why the Fair School Funding Plan should become law:

1 - Public school funding is in tatters and school districts are financially vulnerable. Now is the time to invest in the public system.

2 - The plan is complete. It was developed over three years through a model process of thorough, informed, and transparent policy making led by education practitioners.

 

3 – The base cost – the amount of money every student is guaranteed - is defined by the actual cost of providing a quality education. It focuses on the student and every part of the school day and education process.  

4 - The distribution formula that defines how the state and local community share in paying for the base cost more accurately assesses local capacity by considering both property wealth and the income of tax payers. This better targets the state contribution to ensure that all children have access to a quality education, regardless of the capacity of local taxpayers to fund that education.

 

5 - The plan directly funds vouchers, charter schools, and inter-district transfers instead of deducting those dollars from state aid owed to districts. Deduction funding promotes unequal funding and greater reliance on property taxes, and reduces education opportunities for students, particularly in districts with concentrated poverty.

 

6 – The plan recognizes that students are unique and addresses special costs of meeting those needs.

7 – The plan recognizes that school districts have vastly different transportation costs and offers state funds to help equalize the burden.

 

Here are reasons we reject the senate alternative.

1 - It was developed over a short period of time by legislators without involvement of practitioners and public input.  

2 - It was introduced late in the process making real evaluation and adjustments impossible.

3 - It underestimates costs. It uses teacher salaries and an unrealistic definition of class size - not student needs - to define funding levels.

4 - It fails to increase categorical aid.

5 - It cuts funding for transportation, a significant source of unequal costs across districts.

6 - It fails to accurately assess local capacity by only using property wealth.

7 - It undermines equity by failing to account for differences in costs and capacity from one community to the next to the detriment of our poorest students and communities.

8 - It fails to make public education a priority. It shifts an even greater share of education resources to education options that are neither accountable to the public nor responsible for serving all students.

We urge our lawmakers to choose the Fair School Funding Plan.

We call on senators and representatives to live up to the expectations of the Ohio Constitution and pass the Fair School Funding Plan so that children in every community can benefit from a high quality public education. It is fair. And it is our future.

TAKE ACTION TO SUPPORT FAIR SCHOOL FUNDING NOW

LWV Ohio Testimony in support of Fair School Funding

134th General Assembly

June 3, 2021, presented to the Senate Finance Committee (on Sub HB110, replying to the Senate's version of the budget)

May 17, 2021, presented to the Senate Finance Committee (after HB1 was incorporated into the HB110 - the Budget Bill)

May 3, 2021, presented to the Senate Primary and Secondary Education Committee (after HB1 was incorporated into the HB110 - the Budget Bill)

February 27, 2021, House Finance Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education

133rd General Assembly

November 30, 2020, presented to the House Finance Committee