On May 20, 2019, an Ohio Fair School Funding Plan Forum was held at Orange High School as suggested by State Rep. Juanita Brent. Both Rep. Brent and Rep. Phil Robinson, who also represents the Orange community, attended the forum and expressed support for the plan. Other legislators in attendance included Rep. Mary Lightbody of Westerville, an OHS alumna, and Rep. John Patterson of Jefferson, one of the architects of the funding plan.
Two members of the school funding task force that developed the Fair School Funding Plan--Kevin Lillie, Treasurer of Geneva Area City Schools; and, Ryan Pendleton, Treasurer of Akron City Schools--presented a detailed review of the Funding Plan and described anomalies and inequities of the current funding system. The legislators in attendance said they support the funding plan and are working to approve legislation in time to include in the two-year budget for the period from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2021.
They noted that the current system has no provision for funding educational technology. They pointed out that services for special needs students are inadequately funded. They also cited examples of where districts with similar funding needs are funded in vastly different ways. Also, they cited examples of where funding interrelationships among districts harm or help districts far removed from a plant closing or pipeline construction.
Rep. Patterson spoke at the forum and said the plan results from a multi-year effort to improve the way funding is distributed across the state. He noted that just one of every five school districts is funded based on current funding formula calculations. The remaining 80 percent of districts are either capped or on a funding guarantee. The current funding system is not fair to Ohio's taxpayers, he said.
The Ohio General Assembly is currently studying a major reform of the way Ohio distributes state financial resources to local school districts. This effort, which has become the Ohio Fair School Funding Plan, is perhaps the most significant funding reform since the current shared system of funding schools was legislated during the Great Depression.
Detailed information about the proposal can be found at the following web site:https://sites.google.com/view/ohiofairschoolfunding
The Orange Board of Education wishes to thank all who attended the forum and those involved in this initiative to improve the funding system for the benefit of all Ohio children.