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Senate Committee Approves Budget Bill Along Party Lines With Changes To Ohio School Funding Proposal

Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) discusses the budget bill after Senate Finance Committee.
Andy Chow
Ohio Public Radio
Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) discusses the budget bill after Senate Finance Committee.

The Ohio Senate Finance Committee has sent the latest budget proposal for a floor vote after adding more than 100 amendments to the bill. Republican Senate leaders said the measure is making more investments to help people.

The Senate made many changes to the latest version of the budget, including measures that allow school districts to operate an online school each year, exclude the Vax-A-Million database from public record and require schools to have parents sign a waiver before adding to sex education curriculum.

Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) said they're sending the House a budget that helps people around Ohio. 

"It helps them with the tax code, putting money in their pocket. I think our education plan puts more money into schools over the next two years," Dolan, chair of the finance committee, said. "When the House sees this, they're going to see this impacts, positively, individuals from around the state." 

It's common for the budget bill, which starts as a proposal from the governor, to go through several changes before lawmakers come to a final product. 

A main sticking point is the contrasting school funding plans between the House and Senate.

The budget approved by the GOP-controlled House in April included elements of the bipartisan Fair School Funding Plan developed over more than three years. The goal of that plan was a sustainable funding process lasting several years.

The GOP-majority Ohio Senate ditched that approach and introduced its own plan as part of the budget it's expected to approve Wednesday.

House and Senate lawmakers must reconcile differences between the two versions by month's end.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.