Changes in Ohio school funding

By Regina Russo – bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Warren County voters said no again to another levy for Little Miami Schools.

In Butler County, the Superintendent for Lakota School is proposing $6 million in cuts.

"Unfortunately even a 6 million dollar budget will not solve problems so we will need to look to community for additional funding," said Laura Kursman, spokeswoman for Lakota.

In Hamilton County, in 2011 and 2012 Cincinnati Public Schools will be in a deficit.

"Yes, we have to have a levy in some point in time," said Mary Ronan, Superintendent for CPS.

"Ohio (has a) weird system of school funding  because it has more levies than any state in the nation," said Andrew Benson, a former newspaper reporter who's followed education reform for years and is now the Executive Director the Ohio Education Matters

And despite that, funding remained inadequate and according to the Ohio Supreme Court that's unconstitutional. But up until now there was no remedy.

"But last year the legislature and Governor approved an evidence based model," said Benson.

Benson said it will take ten years to phase in.

"It's going to say what are the pieces needed for adequate education what kind of components and then cost them and the state supports it," he said.

So instead of the state paying for half of school funding and local levies paying the other half the state would fund for nearly 60 percent.  And for the first time that funding would be directed to activities in the classroom that research shows is tied to improving student learning.  Small class sizes, professional development for teachers during the day, during the school. Those are just two components.  Local levies will fund things like transportation, extracurricular activities.

Benson calls the evidence based approach for Ohio school funding historical.

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