State budget folds in education overhaul

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

The newest state budget bill being considered by the Ohio legislature now includes an overhaul of public school funding decades after it was deemed unconstitutional.

Among budget changes such as tax cuts, the Ohio House picked up the public school funding formula changes that were introduced in their own bill at the beginning of the year.

The budget bill increases yearly funding for education by $1.8 billion and would phase in changes over the course of six years, just as was planned in the most recent bill, and in the original bill language from the last General Assembly.

House Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima, was one of the originators of the public school funding formula now a part of the proposed budget.

The funding overhaul sought to finally put to rest constitutionality issues the Ohio Supreme Court found with the state’s distribution of education funding. The state’s high court found that the state relied too much on property taxes, which impacted impoverished areas.

The new funding formula would change the property tax ratio and focus more on individual district needs. The last capital budget included money for studies to suss out the true education cost for districts across the state.

The bill introduced in the last General Assembly died before receiving a floor vote, but was reintroduced in the current GA, with two new cosponsors.

Sponsors of the individual bill previously said the billion-dollar price tag could be funded without a tax increase.

Gov. Mike DeWine specifically chose not to address the funding formula in his executive budget proposal, the starting point for legislators in putting the state budget together.

The governor’s budget proposed $13.1 billion for schools, including $1.1 billion in wraparound funds in an effort to return the education budget to pre-pandemic levels, but not add to the formula.

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