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Ohio House steps away from Gov. Kasich's school funding plan
The House GOP plan would spread school funding increases more equally across the state.

Ida Lieszkovszky
Here's the map of Ohio school funding under the House plan.
Courtesy of Ohio Legislative Services Commission
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The Republicans in the Legislature dealt several blows to Gov. John Kasich yesterday, including major revisions in his school funding formula.

StateImpact Ohio’s Ida Lieszkovszky has this report on what those changes could mean for Ohio’s schools.

Lieszkovszky on differences between the Ohio House and Gov. Kasich's school plan

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When Gov. John Kasich announced his new school-funding proposal, most superintendents around the state were relieved to hear no one would get a funding cut. And there was also a lot of cheering when Kasich said his new formula would mean rich schools got less and poor schools got more.

As it turned out, the governor’s description of his plan didn’t fit with the numbers. Many poor districts would not get an increase, while many districts that are well off would see more in state aid – sometimes a lot more.

Now, the Republican controlled House has come up with its own formula.

Ron Amstutz of Wooster chairs the House Finance Committee. He says the House has created a good school-funding plan for Ohio.

“We think we have something pretty close to a workable, sustainable, defensible long-term solution here,” Amstutz said.

Long-term, short-term
Under the governor’s plan, less than a third of Ohio's more than 600 districts would have seen an increase in state funding. Under the House model, about half would get more; many of those are poor, rural districts. And some of the wealthier districts that would have seen increases under the Kasich plan would get a much smaller increase under the House plan.

Howard Fleeter is an economist with the Education Tax Policy Institute, which studies how tax changes affect school funding. He said school districts across Ohio may initially prefer Kasich’s school-funding plan over the House’s plan.

“It’s a case of short run, long run,” Fleeter said. “In the short run, there are certainly going to be some districts that are not as happy with the House’s version as the governor’s version. (But) I think that this type of approach works out better in the long run.”

Steve Dyer, a former Democratic lawmaker now with the liberal think-tank Innovation Ohio, says he likes this Republican revision.

“School funding should be relatively simple,” Dyer said. “It should figure out what kids need and then fund it.”

But this isn’t a done deal, and Kasich can still fight for his proposal. The budget must make its way through the House and Senate first, and eventually back to the governor’s desk.

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