A battle is coming over the school funding formula overhaul introduced in the Senate’s version of the budget yesterday – which blows up the one proposed in the House that school groups and education advocates supported.
Very simply put, the House overhaul of the state's school funding formula calculates per-student aid based on 60% property taxes, 40% income. That was the basis of House Bill 1, which was a reintroduction of what was known as the Cupp-Patterson bill, which passed the House overwhelmingly last December.
The Senate budget uses teacher salary, a student teacher ratio and other money to calculate per-student aid:
- 80% of average teacher salary + benefits $72,440 divided by student/teacher ratio of 20:1 = $3,622
- Eight teacher development days: $161
- Building administrative costs and operations: $1,357
- Student support: $625
- District administrative costs: $344
Current per-student aid is $6,020. The House version bumps that up to $7,020. The Senate plan takes it to $6,110.
But the president of the state’s largest teachers union, the Ohio Education Association, said the Senate plan moves in the wrong direction.
Scott DiMauro said the Senate's formula takes the state back toward the "state share" approach, and it ignores why Ohio’s way of funding schools was ruled unconstitutional in 1997 – first, the reliance on property taxes.
"Keep in mind that the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that our system is unconstitutional for two fundamental reasons, "DiMauro said. "Number one, because of our system's over reliance on local property wealth to determine school funding. The House plan addresses that. The Senate plan does not."
DiMauro continued: "The second thing that the Supreme Court said is that there is not a commitment to adequately fund our schools that's tied to the actual cost of educating a child. The House plan addresses that. The Senate plan does not.”
Senate leaders have said their formula is more sustainable and predictable than the House plan, and puts nearly $223 million more into schools than the House budget does.