Our children are the future not only of Ohio, but also of our country. It is our obligation to do everything possible to empower them with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in an increasingly complex world and competitive marketplace.

Our schools play a pivotal role in shaping our children’s futures, and we must make education a priority. The Ohio Constitution mandates that the General Assembly must “secure a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the state.” As a member of the House Finance Committee, I will be looking closely at education funding, which comprises approximately 40 percent ($7.5 billion) of the state budget.

Under Ohio’s property tax-based school funding system, there is an overwhelming disparity in the way schools are funded. In Ohio’s poorest districts, 20 mills of local property tax provide $900 of funding per student. In the wealthiest districts, the same 20 mills of local tax effort result in nearly $14,000 per student. As a legislature, we need to work to end this level of disparity so every student has a realistic chance to receive the education and skills necessary to succeed.

As the Ohio General Assembly addresses our education policy, we must take the politics out of school funding and keep our focus on the best interests of the students. We need to look past simply throwing more money at school districts—eight of the 10 highest-funded schools are currently on academic watch. Evidently, while funding is necessary for students to achieve, it is not sufficient by itself.

I would like this column to launch a discussion on education in the 83rd House District.

As House Republicans continue our pledge for a more transparent state government, please join the conversation and encourage your neighbors and friends to do the same. I will be releasing a new online survey on the topic of education in my next column and would appreciate your feedback. On my Facebook account, I will have daily updates on my personal thoughts from committee as well as a few video messages detailing new information we receive. Continue to visit www.ohiohouse.gov for updates on House Finance Committee meetings and a live feed on committee meetings, and e-mail me at Rep83@ohiohouse.gov or call at 614-4663819 and join the conversation.

This is just the beginning of the talk on education and I hope the 83rd House District will stand with me on making our children and their future a first priority.

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