State Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) today announced the passage of House Bill (HB) 1, the Fair School Funding Plan, as an amendment to HB 110, the biennial state operating budget. Sweeney’s bipartisan legislation jointly sponsored with Rep. Jamie Callender (R-Concord), HB 1 addresses many of the issues that have plagued the state’s school funding system, which the Ohio Supreme Court has found unconstitutional four times, beginning with the DeRolph decision in 1997.
“I voted for this budget because the inclusion of my House Bill 1 offers a historic, once in a lifetime opportunity to build a better future for Ohio’s children, and their children’s children,” said Rep. Sweeney. “Ohio’s school funding plight spans generations, and there is simply no more time to waste. For each and every delay, more children have been left behind. The Fair School Funding Plan would put the focus back on students and fix a convoluted, unconstitutional system, replacing it with a predictable, sustainable, scalable, and transparent model that future generations of Ohioans can count on.”
H.B. 1 builds on three years of feedback from the state’s leading education professionals representing Ohio school districts from Lake Erie to the Ohio River and everywhere in between. The Fair School Funding Workgroup delved into a variety of concerns with current law, including problems with the current base cost per pupil, the method of distribution of state funds to districts, growth caps within the formula, and tensions surrounding the transfer of funds from resident districts to community schools.
Unlike current law, the Fair School Funding Plan calculates the true base cost to holistically educate a child in Ohio today. It also adjusts the distribution formula for schools with an emphasis on a more accurate measure of school district capacity by looking at both property and income wealth to determine the local share. In addition, the Plan allocates additional funding to serve each student who has additional needs, including those who are economically disadvantaged, require special or gifted education, or are English language learners. Each component was modified with input from practitioners and advocates from across Ohio.
“It’s time for us to steer away from the rocky shores of Ohio’s current formula, knowing that the voyage may not always be smooth, but fully understanding that the final destination is worth the effort and the sacrifice,” said Rep. Sweeney.
H.B. 1 mirrors H.B. 305, the Cupp-Patterson Plan from the 133rd General Assembly, which overwhelmingly passed the House in December, 87-9 with 72 co-sponsors. The state operating budget now heads to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.