Yesterday, finally, the Governor released his district by district breakdown of school funding. To say that the numbers didn't reflect the rhetoric given at the rollout would be quite the understatement. During the rollout the Governor and his education advisors led everyone to believe that funding levels would be based upon district property wealth and income. The breakdowns produced however show almost the opposite.
“Based on the premise that this funding was going to deal with disparity, I’m surprised by some of the lower-wealth districts not getting any increase while some higher-wealth districts are getting more, although they seem to be districts with growing enrollment,” Varda said.
If districts were expecting more, the vast majority are going to be greatly disappointed. We looked at the percentage funding increase being offered for 2014 and produced the following chart
As you can see from this chart, 396 of 614 districts received zero extra dollars for 2014. When one factors in inflation, the number grows in real terms to over 400. Worse still, the funding data released by the Governor does not include money that districts will lose to charter schools and voucher recipients - in 2012 that was over $700 million in Ohio.
The Governor had promised $1.2 billion in extra funding, but when totaling the increases for 2014 and 2015 we can only count to $563,713,406. Even accounting for the $300 million "Straight A fund" we're struggling to see how we get to the promised $1.2 billion
In order to explain this bizare school funding formula, the Governor's education advisors had to resort to even more bizarre word games with reporters
Kasich education advisor Dick Ross said, while the funding estimates may surprise some, they represent “reality.”
“Maybe the perception needs to be recognized as not being what’s real,” he said.
What is real is the ongoing underinvestment in Ohio's public schools by this Governor. The numbers, which he was reluctant to release, speak for themsevles.