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School funding bill to get new look under new speaker

Ohio Capital Journal |

A school funding bill originally sponsored by new Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp is getting a fresh look and hopefully time in front of legislative committees before year’s end.

“We’re taking a more balanced approach in the new bill,” Patterson, D-Jefferson, said.

Patterson said a substitute version of House Bill 305 seeks to address “overarching criticisms” of the original bill, and the education system itself. One of the major criticisms is the distribution of money in the school funding formula between school districts with varying financial situations.

“Under the current formula, districts are all interconnected, so as one district becomes wealthier, another becomes poorer,” Patterson told the Ohio Capital Journal.

So, in the new plan, legislators want to reassess the amount that districts are able to raise on their own before they decide what the amount of state aid would be to schools.

The proposed bill would also take the weight solely off of property taxes for school funding, something the 1997 decision by the Ohio Supreme Court in DeRolph v. State of Ohio ruled was a big reason the education system violated the state constitution.

The new plan will combine property and income taxes along with a calculation of a district’s wealth level to “determine a district’s true capacity to raise its fair share,” according to Patterson.