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Callender, Ohio House Pass Comprehensive School Funding Formula Reform

December 3, 2020
Jamie Callender News

Today, State Rep. Jamie Callender (R-Concord) supported House Bill 305, which was passed by the Ohio House. The historic legislation provides comprehensive reform of Ohio’s primary and secondary school funding framework. 

"My entire career has been overshadowed by a ruling that our school-funding system was unconstitutional," said Rep. Jamie Callender. "But in all of that time, 27 years, this is the first time there has been a bill on this floor that universally is acknowledged as meeting the constitutional requirements. Twenty-seven years. That’s a long time."

The bill revamps Ohio’s school funding formula by revising the components of base cost, which establishes an evidence-based per pupil amount to provide a quality education and adequately funds components needed to operate a traditional school district.

Under H.B. 305, the base cost includes resources for professional development for teachers that address the health, safety, social, and emotional needs of students, academic and athletic co-curricular activities, and technology used in today’s education.

The legislation also adjusts the distribution formula for schools with an emphasis on a more accurate measure school district capacity by using both property and income wealth to determine the local share.

In addition to base cost, H.B. 305 contains additional categories of aid aimed at creating an equitable system of funding for our schools. These categorical aid components include Gifted Education, Special Education, English Language Learners, Economically Disadvantaged, and Transportation. Each component was modified with input from practitioners and children advocates from across Ohio.

H.B. 305 serves as a model for school funding for when resources become available. The estimated six-year, fully phased in cost of the package is approximately $1.99 billion.  The only appropriation in the bill includes $5 million from the Lottery Profits Education Fund to pay for various studies within the bill.

After nine hearings, the bill passed out of the House Finance Committee by a unanimous 32-0 vote. The legislation also had widespread support with over 40 proponents making their voices heard during the committee process.

The original version of the bill was introduced in the spring of 2019 after more than 18 months of work led by 16 active Ohio educators.

The measure now heads to the Senate for consideration.