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Saturday Essay: State senate must act to ensure fair funding, fair testing

Stephanie Eichenberg, Toledo Blade |

Stephanie Eichenberg is a member of the Toledo Public Schools Board of Education. Excerpt from her opinion piece in the Toledo Blade are below. Read the full opinion piece at The Toledo Blade.

The Ohio state Senate can set the bar for common sense in public education by passing two bills in the next two weeks.

Senate Bill 358, a short-term fix, pauses standardized testing for this year and makes other important coronavirus-related practical adjustments.

Many districts want to take advantage of the fair weather and improved ventilation spring brings to educate more of our students in person. To fritter away a week or two of that instruction time for students to take a standardized test is simply not a priority. Our teachers know which students require greater intervention in this disrupted year; we don’t need the state test to tell us after the fact.

The Senate should also pass its companion bill to House Bill 305, known as the Fair School Funding Plan.

Ohio’s school funding was declared unconstitutional in 1997. In the next 20 years Band-Aids were applied to the funding system, to the point where the Band-Aids are the system, resulting in an opaque, garbled mess.

Five hundred out of 610 districts were provided some massaged budget no one could quite explain by 2018. That certainly hamstrings school boards and administrators attempts to budget for the future as they await their biennial magic number.

At least this Assembly has been honest and abandoned all pretense of logic around this funding formula in 2018, instead providing a flat amount to every district. These next two weeks the Senate can join the House and finally fix this situation.

Stephanie Eichenberg is a member of the Toledo Public Schools Board of Education. Read the full opinion piece at The Toledo Blade.

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