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Government/Politics

Ohio School Funding Bill Sponsor Hopes To See It Passed Before He Leaves Office

An empty hallway at a middle school in Westerville
Karen Kasler
/
An empty hallway at a middle school in Westerville

The term-limited sponsor of a plan to overhaul Ohio’s school funding system says he’s hopeful it will pass before he leaves the House at the end of this month.  The measure could be voted on in a House committee Wednesday.

Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) and Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Lima) got two-thirds of the House to sponsor their plan when they introduced it in June 2019.

Cupp is now the House Speaker, so Patterson is confident it will come to the floor after it’s voted out of committee.

But Patterson knows incoming Republican Senate President Matt Huffman, who's a fan of vouchers, may not be a fan.

“He has some concerns and we’re always willing to talk about those concerns. I mean, this is so complex we’re not going to be able to address all the needs all members might have but we welcome his input," Patterson said.

A bill in the Senate mirrors the Cupp-Patterson plan, and Patterson said he’s worked with sponsors Sens. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) and Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) in the hopes of moving it forward.

After months of reworking, school groups say the plan creates the first constitutional way to fund public schools since the Ohio Supreme Court’s landmark case in 1997.

But Patterson admitted it’s just a road map and has no funding attached. It’s estimated if it were fully funded, it would add $2 billion a year to the more than $10 billion spent on K-12 education.

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