School plan helps level playing fieldPublished 12:11am Sunday, February 3, 2013
Gov. John Kasich continues to successfully take on many of Ohio’s long-standing challenges, this time focused on improving the state’s unconstitutional public education funding structure.
Although many details still need to be finalized, the governor’s plan looks like it will help level the playing field between the state’s wealthiest and poorest school districts.
The governor unveiled his funding formula — fittingly called “Achievement Everywhere” — last week and received significant praise from school administrators from across the state.
The governor wants to increase funding by a total of $1.2 billion, with about $548 million of that tied to additional base revenues.
The $15.1 billion plan guarantees every district will at least receive more state funding than this year and will increase overall funding by 6 percent in the first year and a little more than 3 percent the following one.
The plan also includes $300 million that will be used as rewards and incentives for districts that focus on innovation and efficiency.
“This is not hard to figure out: If you are poor, you’re going to get more. If you are rich, you’re going to get less,” Kasich said. “If you have gifted students, you’re going to get more. If you have disabled students, you’re going to get more.”
This all comes as welcome news for many school districts that took a big hit in recent years with the loss of federal stimulus dollars and by changes to the state’s tax laws.
About 10 percent of the additional funding comes from the state’s lottery profits but the rest comes from the general revenue, something that wouldn’t be possible without many of the changes Kasich has implemented to cut excessive spending and strengthen Ohio’s economy.
The governor’s plan isn’t perfect and many questions remain unanswered in terms of the direct impact here in Lawrence County, but it is certainly a step in the right direction toward fixing some long-ignored flaws in public education.