The following statement is attributed to Becky Higgins, president of the Ohio Education Association:
“Any effort to increase funding to Ohio’s schools is a welcome development. However, like many lawmakers, we have questions about the basis for determining which districts are ‘needy’ and which districts have the ‘capacity’ to generate more local revenues for their schools. Under this plan, more than half of the school districts would receive less funding than in the previous budget. Additionally, money will continue to flow to charter schools at the expense of local school districts. A recent study estimated that one third of the school districts slated to receive an increase in state funding will see that funding wiped out because of the way the state funds charter schools.
All of this comes at a time when state revenues are growing. This is an occasion to make investments in Ohio’s future, and what could be a better investment than doing more for our students and schools?
As budget deliberations begin, legislators from both sides of the aisle are expressing concerns. These concerns include changes to the state funding formula, a reduction in tangible personal property payments to districts, and changes in transportation funding. We share the difficulty many are having in understanding why seemingly similar districts are treated differently and why the funding for so many struggling school districts is being cut. At this time there are more questions than answers.
OEA is committed to the principle that all children should receive high-quality educational opportunities regardless of where they live. This cannot happen without a school funding formula that provides adequate resources. Ohio's constitution makes it clear that the state has a responsibility to make sure our schools are adequately funded. We call on the governor and members of the legislature to pass a budget that fulfills this constitutional obligation. Furthermore, we urge elected officials to recognize the opportunity we currently have to strengthen our economy and secure our future by investing more in our children and their education.”
The Ohio Education Association represents 121,000 teachers, faculty members and support professionals in Ohio's public schools, colleges and universities.