COLUMBUS — Supporters of a plan that would have increased funding for Ohio schools by more than $770 million in the current two-year state budget cycle gathered Wednesday to defend the second version of the proposal.
The group went back to the proverbial drawing board after the initial proposal drew fire for helping richer districts more than poorer ones. The new version is attracting much of the same criticism, although the numbers have improved.
Already, 66 House members are co-sponsoring the measure, prepared by Reps. Bob Cupp, R-Lima, and John Patterson, D-Jefferson.
The bipartisan duo hoped to hold hearings over the summer. But House Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford, nixed that plan. He said he will work with supporters in coming months to refine the plan further. Committee hearings then would begin in the fall.
The $770 million represents only the first two years of what’s designed as a six-year phase-in of the proposal, designed to satisfy the Ohio Constitution’s requirement for the state to provide a “thorough and efficient” public school system. That suggests the biennial final price tag, if implemented this year, could easily top $2 billion.