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Ohio School Funding Overhaul Gets Mixed Grades

photo of elementary school classroom
Elementary school classroom

Ohio lawmakers will soon consider a school funding formula overhaul, which has undergone some changes since it was first introduced in March. But the state’s leading school funding expert says he’s giving the plan mixed grades, and that it needs more work.

Researcher Howard Fleeter says the overall base cost for educating students was increased and the aid to economically disadvantaged students was also boosted. But when all the math is done, Fleeter says the funding gap between students in the richest and poorest districts is only $23 smaller than it is under the current formula – and the wealthiest districts are still getting more resources than the poorest districts.

“You’ve done all these good things in this plan, and yet, when the dust clears on it, it hasn’t closed that equity gap by very much at all.”

And Fleeter says a lot of money will be needed to bridge that gap. An early cost estimate on the plan from Reps. Bob Cupp and John Patterson is $1.5 billion a year more than the state is already spending on education.