ALL IN FOR OHIO KIDS: Funding projections highlight need for up-to-date school funding formula now

[March 1, 2023] Ohio’s students, educators, and public school communities are counting on our lawmakers to live up to the promise of a great education for all in our state. The partial implementation of the Fair School Funding Plan (FSFP) in the last state budget marked a huge step forward in that mission. The release of new data breaking down state budget projections for each school district under House Bill 33 shines a spotlight on the urgent need for our lawmakers to finish the work they’ve started by updating the funding formula and committing to adequately and equitably funding the FSFP in this budget.

The Fair School Funding Plan overhauls the state’s long-standing unconstitutional school funding scheme that left many communities behind. The new system was created to ensure our school funding formula reflects how much it actually costs to provide a great education to every child – no exceptions – and how much each community can actually afford to pay toward that cost. When fully implemented and updated as intended, it will be a constitutional funding system for our state.

“No matter where they live or what they look like, all of Ohio’s kids deserve to learn in a public school that inspires their creativity, unlocks their potential, and nurtures their dreams. Our lawmakers must deliver on the full promise of the Fair School Funding Plan this year. That means using up-to-date data in the formula to account for the real cost of education in Ohio,” said Policy Matters Ohio Executive Director Hannah Halbert on behalf of the All in For Ohio Kids coalition which also includes the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, the Ohio Education Association, and the Ohio Federation of Teachers. “We can’t use FY 2018 numbers to fund schools in FY 2024.”

“It is disappointing to see that HB 33 continues to use 2018 data for the base costs of providing education services, while using updated data for the community finance side of the equation only. As a result, many communities appear—on paper—to be able to pick up more of what should be the state’s share of funding,” Halbert explained. “The reality is that contorting the equation like this will underfund Ohio’s schools in the years to come while overburdening local property taxpayers, something the state supreme court has declared unconstitutional four times.”

“Lawmakers have clearly heard Ohioans’ demands that the state fully and fairly fund our public schools. The passage of the Fair School Funding Plan’s framework in the last state budget was a huge first step. Now, they must listen to the voices of Ohioans who are telling them to use the latest data in the calculations so the Fair School Funding Plan can do what it was always meant to do: Give every child in every public school the world-class resources and opportunities they deserve to reach their full potential,” Halbert said. “We can’t let the General Assembly settle for an Incomplete on this assignment.”

All in for Ohio Kids represents a broad group of concerned organizations and individuals who are working together to fully and fairly fund our schools.