Legislators will change Gov. Kasich’s school-funding plan

Legislators are going to change Gov. John Kasich’s proposed school-funding plan. The only question is how.

House Republicans have turned to a soft-spoken veteran legislator and former Supreme Court justice to take the lead in deciding which levers to pull inside a complex proposal that would spend an additional $459 million over two years but leave more than half of all school districts with a funding cut.

“We are in the very preliminary stages,” said Rep. Bob Cupp, R-Lima, who served on the state’s high court from 2007 to 2012. “The (district funding) printouts we’ve seen have some anomalies. Until you pull it apart to see why it’s doing that, it’s hard to say whether it’s working properly or not.”

For example, of the new money in Kasich’s proposal, 74 percent would go to midsize and large urban districts, while rural districts as a group would see almost no new money.

The governor’s plan would provide maximum 10 percent annual funding increases to some relatively wealthy districts such as New Albany, Westerville and Indian Hill near Cincinnati, but it would cut funding for every district in Appalachian Ohio’s Perry and Adams counties.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled four times starting in 1997 that Ohio’s system of school funding relied too much on local property taxes, to the point that it left some students with an inadequate education. The court dropped jurisdiction of the case (before Cupp became a justice), and disagreement remains over whether the order was ever met.

(Read more at the Dispatch).