COLUMBUS, Ohio – A comprehensive reform of Ohio’s primary and secondary school funding framework passed the Ohio House on Thursday and is heading to the Senate, where it is expected to pass.
The reform package is in response to the 1997 DeRolph case, which ruled Ohio’s system of funding schools unconstitutional.
House Speaker Bob Cupp announced the House passage of House Bill 305, legislation that provides a comprehensive reform of Ohio’s primary and secondary school funding framework.
“The Ohio House has taken a significant step forward in replacing Ohio’s broken school funding formula with a new, workable framework that is appropriate to meeting the cost of a quality education for all students,” said Cupp, who was instrumental in putting together the funding plan before being named House speaker.
The bill revamps Ohio’s school funding formula in two significant ways. It revises how the cost of a quality education is determined and the way in which state funds are allocated to local schools to appropriately supplement local tax effort based on capacity to raise school funds.
Cupp added, “This has been a 3½-year, bipartisan effort working closely with Rep. John Patterson (D-Ashtabula), a work-group of school treasurers, superintendents and school finance experts to improve the way Ohio funds it schools and student learning.”
Under H.B. 305, the base cost includes appropriate student-teacher ratios, resources for professional development for teachers that address the health, safety, social, and emotional needs of students, academic and athletic co-curricular activities, and technology used in today’s education.
The legislation also adjusts the distribution formula for schools with an emphasis on a more accurate measure of school district capacity by using both property and income wealth to determine the local share. The Ohio Constitution requires the General Assembly to assure each district has sufficient funding from state and local sources to provide district students the opportunity for a quality education, according to the Ohio Supreme Court’s DeRolph decision.
In addition to base cost, H.B. 305 contains additional categories to assist local schools with special need students. These categorical aid components include Gifted Education, Special Education, English Language Learners, Economically Disadvantaged, and Transportation. Each component was modified with input from practitioners and children advocates from across Ohio.
The original version of the bill was introduced in the spring of 2019 after more than 18 months of work led by 16 active Ohio educators under the direction of Cupp and Patterson.