(Ohio) – Lawmakers need to allocate approximately $1.5 billion in taxpayer dollars in order to fund the revised school funding formula immediately.
On Wednesday during an extensive Senate Finance Committee hearing, proponents of the proposal argued the plan is modern, fair and transparent. They continued to highlight many of the same areas offered to members of the state House in previous meetings.
Lawmakers have the ability to phase in the so-called ‘Fair School Funding Plan’ over six years, which then divides the $1.5 billion needed over that timeframe. The group did not finalize details before the state approved a $68.9 billion, two-year state spending plan, according to officials.
Proponents also stated during the discussion that the plan is based on actual costs of an Ohio education using best practices from the state and evidence-based practices. The plan reportedly, in eyes of proponents, would eliminate artificial caps and reduce the number of school districts on artificial guarantees. Proponents suggested the Department of Education could implement the new funding plan for the 2019-2020 school year if approved. However, officials note, it presumes money from the governor’s wellness program will roll into the school funding formula.
The plan relies heavily on a combination of property values and resident income to determine a district’s capacity to generate revenue locally for schools.
Ohio’s current per-student base cost is approximately $6,020. Reports also indicate of the state’s 610 public school districts, more than 500 are either “capped” and do not receive the full funding the current formula mandates or are on the “guarantee” and receive more funding than what the formula requires.