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Ohio Schools: Receiving the Most Money in State's History

March 18, 2024
Angela N. King News

COLUMBUS – The State of Ohio has made it a top priority to find a funding model for public schools that relies less on taxpayers to provide a quality education for Ohio’s public-school students. This is why beginning in 2020, House Bill 305 also known as the Cupp-Patterson Fair School Funding Formula, went into practice and will be phased in over a six-year period. 

Recognizing the funding formula used outdated data to fund schools after initially enacted, the 135th General Assembly adjusted the funding numbers in the State Operating Budget, voted in favor of by State Representative Angie King (R-Celina), by looking at the cost to educate an individual student. This change has led to an increase to projected funding through 2025 by using the most up-to-date information to fund schools. 

“This amount of public-school funding is unprecedented in Ohio,” said King. “In this biennium’s operating budget, we allocated more than $16.3 billion to public schools. This has led to an increase year-after-year for top-performing schools like Coldwater Exempted Village Schools, who are going to go from receiving $7.6 million in 2020 to $9.6 million by 2025 in State funding. $2 million in five years with only a marginal growth in projected enrollment.” 

Though this new funding formula relies more on enrollment than property valuations, there is concern that the number of homestead exemption legislation currently being worked on at the Statehouse will reduce a public school’s revenue. 

The majority of these pieces of legislation will extend eligibility to surviving spouses of veterans, first responders, seniors and will open benefits to disabled veterans, but like all current homestead exemptions in Ohio, local taxing units, including school districts, are reimbursed by the state for the reduction in property tax revenue. 

“The State recognizes the importance of public education, so there are guard rails in place to ensure schools will not be shortchanged any State funding,” King added. “Homestead exemptions are important programs for these affected families to stay in their homes without fear of being priced out from increasing taxes.” 

This believed cut in tax revenue has led schools to push for more funding through levies under the assumption the school will be taking in less state funding from a decrease in property valuations because of homestead exemptions and reforms to the funding formula. In certain instances, putting permanent income-tax levies on the ballot under the falsehood of Ohio law not allowing them to adjust the duration of the levy. 

“These levies are knee-jerk reactions to changes in the state funding formula and fears of legislation that hasn’t even passed through the legislature,” said King. “The proof lies in the numbers. Schools have been and will continue to receive more money than they ever have. Public schools are the backbone of Ohio’s education source and will continue to be funded appropriately so our children can thrive.” 

The Ohio Department of Education and Workforce’s public-school fire-year forecasting model also reaffirms King’s statement showing a steady increase of funding for Ohio’s public schools.