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Rep. Sweeney applauds House passage of bipartisan Fair School Funding Plan

Bill would transform broken school funding formula, invest in Ohio's future
December 3, 2020
Bride Rose Sweeney News

COLUMBUS — Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) today voted in favor of the Fair School Funding Plan, House Bill (HB) 305, bipartisan legislation sponsored by Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) that would transform the way Ohio’s schools are funded. Democratic lawmakers have long fought to reform the state’s school funding formula, which the Ohio Supreme Court has found unconstitutional four times, beginning with the DeRolph decision in 1997.

“After 23 years, it’s long past time to stop passing the buck on a broken school funding formula that overburdens local communities and skimps on the state’s share of education spending. Now, Ohio is finally one step closer to a fair and evidence-based approach,” said Rep. Sweeney. “Every student, teacher, and family across Ohio deserves the resources to succeed, no matter their zip code, and this is a great start. I was proud to hear this bill in the Finance Committee and to be one of its earliest co-sponsors. This would not be possible without the tireless, passionate, and bipartisan work of my friend, John Patterson, and the countless educational professionals who advocated for HB 305.”

The Fair School Funding Plan would better determine the base cost of educating a typical Ohio student before supports such as Gifted Education, Special Education, poverty and transportation, among others are added. Ohio’s current formula lacks this input, which was a major factor in the DeRolph decision to rule the formula unconstitutional.

The bill would also address another key DeRolph finding: the current overreliance on property wealth in determining a district’s ability to fund its local share. The Fair School Funding Plan blends property and income wealth to determine a more precise, predictable basis for the local share.

After passing the House, HB 305 now moves to the Ohio Senate for consideration.