Debate over Ohio school funding formula

Ohio Statehouse News

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – The new school funding formula being proposed is simpler in some ways — but far more complex in others.

Lawmakers want to switch to a different school funding formula but say they can’t give a total amount of how much that will cost.

“It is complex, the bill itself is over 250 pages long, so there is a lot that needs to be digested,” says Rep. John Patterson.

They claim the amount for the first year is several hundreds of millions of dollars more than what is already being spent.

“It addresses the nuances of each district as it is currently comprised financially,” Rep. Patterson said.

The Cupp-Patterson plan takes into account the size of the district’s geography and student population — as well as the property and personal wealth of the communities the school districts are in.

“To be as fair as possible we have to take into consideration those variables as best we can,” Rep. Patterson said.

That means when the money is distributed, some districts in wealthy areas could get more money from the state than they are currently.

“If they are gaining in student population, and some of them are, then they ought to get some increase to offset those costs,” said Rep. Patterson.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are still struggling to figure out how to deal with rural districts that are financially challenged.

“This is where we need additional minds to come to the table money to offset those challenges, those economic challenges that rural districts face,” Rep. Patterson said.

According to Ohio Federation of Teachers, the Cupp-Patterson plan is a step in the right direction but more work needs to be done.

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