Looking For A New State School Funding Mechanism

Posted on:

< < Back to

State Representative Debbie Phillips of Albany is working overtime this summer scrutinizing primary and secondary education.

Representative Phillips sits on a subcommittee with two fellow Democrats and four Repubicans studying funding.

She says, "This is an expanded subcommittee of Finance."

Governor John Kasich reportedly is preparing a new funding formula and Phillips says the legislative group is getting ready for that.

"I think the overall intention is to try to inform the work on school finance that would be included in the next budget," she says.

Phillips says Ohio still relies too heavily on property taxes and that means some school districts don't get a fair shake when it comes to funding.

"I find it very frustrating that Governor Kasich and the current majority in the legislature repealed the evidence-based model – which was Governor Strickland's school funding reform – and replaced it with nothing," she says.  "To repeal a plan that I believe was making progress when there wasn't anything else to put in place to me seem irresponsible. I hope that some of the good work that was done in the previous administration will continue to be part of the formula moving forward."

Phillips says the evidence-based model correctly looked at what is effective in helping students academically and put a cost on doing that.

Charles Richter is not happy about the status quo, either.

Richter is a Republican from Little Hocking who is trying to unseat Phillips.

"I believe we could find other areas, we're not going to have one way to, because definitely we cannot have a massive sales tax increase or it will cripple our economy in the state," he says.  "I believe we need to look at a variety of funding ways. And as we fund the schools we need to make sure that small, rural schools get a fair amonunt of money per student compared to what they have been doing in the past for the big city schools."

Richter also says that any mandates imposed on school districts should be paid for by the state.  

He says, "From everything that I've read, they've pretty much said that those mandates under Strickland were unfunded. Hoping that the economy is going to get better and the money is going to just appear is naïve."

Richter says cutting out calamity days was also a bad idea.