The Ohio Senate revealed its version of the Budget, and it contained a number of changes to education policy proposals proposed by the Governor and the House. What it didn't contain was a school funding formula, for that we are told we will have to wait another week. A familiar story.
Based upon reporting, there should be some serious cause for concern. The Toledo Blade reports
A huge chunk still missing from the budget is how the chamber plans to deal with K-12 schools, preventing lawmakers from putting a total price tag on the two-year spending plan for the moment. Talks continue, but Mr. Faber predicted that the final product is likely to be closer to what Mr. Kasich initially proposed than what the House put forth.
Mr. Kasich’s school funding plans, particularly his promise that more money would flow to poorer schools, were initially greeted with optimism by school superintendents across the state. But that mood quickly soured when the administration released numbers showing that some 60 percent of school districts would see no funding increases while some wealthier, fast-growing, suburban districts were in line for large increases.
The House, in turned, capped the growth in subsidies to those suburban schools, resulting in more districts being in line for increases, including Toledo Public Schools. Mr. Faber would not speculate what the Senate’s total K-12 pot of funding would be larger or smaller than in the House version.
The Cincinnati Enquirer has a reaction
Senate Minority Leader Eric Kearney, D-North Avondale, said the small business tax cut wouldn’t provide business owners with enough money to create new jobs. He also lamented the budget’s lack of additional funding for local governments and schools.
“Our schools and local communities have suffered drastic cuts since Governor Kasich took office and today’s amendments by Senate Republicans to (the budget bill) did nothing to change that,” he said in a statement. “That’s not good news for local taxpayers who’ve been forced to pick up the slack from state funding cuts by voting for more local levies.”
Senate Republicans said they won’t have education funding numbers until next week, when they plan to reveal their final K-12 funding plan.
The Governor promised that poor districts would receive more, which should not have been a difficult task after he cut education funding by $1.8 billion in his last budget. But even that promise turned out to be empty as almost 400 school districts were set to receive flat funding. The House promised to fix the Governor's mess, and attempted to do so by returning to the Taft era building blocks formula - only they cut school funding by a further $200 million in the process. Now the Ohio Senate wants to return to the Governor's rejected formula. As we predicted, we have a school funding disaster on our hands, unless the Senate is also going to attach significant amounts of additional money to the plan to make it workable.
School administrators were not kind about the Governor's funding formula the first go-around, and here's the graph to demonstrate why
Will Ohio's media be bamboozled a third time by Republican legislators?