Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Lima) and Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) are traveling around the state to present their new school funding formula proposal to different teachers and school administrators around Ohio.
The lawmakers say their formula ends up accurately reflecting how much state money each school district needs.
Jim Rowan, executive director of the Ohio Association of School Business Officials, says in his 25 years this is the closest a plan has ever come to creating equity and adequacy in state school funding.
“What is the cost to educate the student to prepare them for the 21st Century? And by looking at that and developing a methodology around that I think is a much different formula than what we’ve seen in the past,” says Rowan.
But he notes that most of Ohio's large, urban school districts see little to no increase in funding. Rowan says more can still be done to improve the formula.
“But for 85% of the districts we feel like this is a great first start, now we just got to tweak the formula and figure out how we can meet the needs of the other 15% outliers,” Rowan says.
Cupp and Patterson point out that the current formula does not work for about 82% of Ohio's school districts, with a "cap limiting funding or a guarantee underpinning it."
Their plan, which ends up increasing school funding by $720 million, would need legislative approval.