LIMA — Educators are urging Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Senate to approve the Fair School Funding Plan, the latest iteration of a school funding reform proposal first drafted by Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp and Rep. John Patterson to correct the state’s over-reliance on property taxes to fund public schools, which the Ohio Supreme Court found unconstitutional in 1997.
The bill would require the state to spend another $2 billion each year to support schools and would establish a base cost for educating the average student in the average district.
The plan would then look at local property taxes and income levels, rather than property taxes alone, to determine how much funding a school district could generate on its own.
Lima schools Superintendent Jill Ackerman and others have joined a petition in support of the legislation, which has gained 136 signatures to encourage DeWine, Senate President Matt Huffman and other Senate leaders to pass the bill as standalone legislation or part of the state’s budget.
“We would gain a formula that would be fair for all kids,” Ackerman said, “regardless of what school district they’re in, what socio-economic status they’re in.”
Other schools have offered their support for the legislation as well.
In February, for example, the Elida Board of Education passed a resolution encouraging the General Assembly to expedite passage of the reform bill, which has already been approved by the House of Representatives but has stalled in the Senate.
“This is something that has been in progress for years,” Ackerman said, “so they need to step it up. They need to get it taken care of and make it fair for everybody.”