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School Groups Report Finds Senate Funding Plan Used Old Financial Data

Kids walk to class in the hallway of Worthington Kilbourne High School.
Dan Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
Kids walk to class in the hallway of Worthington Kilbourne High School.

Groups representing Ohio’s school boards, school administrators and school financial officials are raising serious concerns about the Senate’s version of the budget, which blew up the $1.8 billion school funding formula overhaul in the House budget.

Republican Senate leaders had said the House funding overhaul, which school groups supported, wasn’t financially accurate because it used 2018 teacher salary data. One estimate suggested it could cost over $450 million dollars more than the House estimates if salary data were updated.

School funding expert Howard Fleeter analyzed the Senate’s proposal for the school groups. He said in his reportthat the Senate is using property values from 2014 to 2016, income data from 2013 and student enrollment counts and teacher salary data from 2019.

“Updating that data after so long of not updating it - that's going to cause disruption in terms of what districts get, how much state aid, and I think it's going to significantly increase the costs down the road," Fleeter said.

Fleeter said in his report the Senate’s school funding plan for this budget is "essentially a recalculation of the FY '19 funding formula with a handful of changes."

The House wants a new formula based on 60% property taxes and 40% household income phased in over six years. It's very similar to the Cupp-Patterson plan that passed overwhelmingly last year, but died in the Senate. It was reintroduced as House Bill 1this year, and then was folded into the House budget.