Ohio Gov. John Kasich wants to change how the state funds public schools.
Kasich’s plan is an attempt to equalize the resources available to rich and poor school districts.
Kasich School Funding Plan: The Basics
- Additional $1.2 billion for schools over next two years; $1.6 billion cut for schools in past two years.
- Funding model attempts to “equalize” differences among high-property wealth and low-property wealth school districts and also takes into account residents’ income levels.
- Continued reliance on local property tax levies.
- Expansion of publicly funded private school vouchers for children in additional low-performing schools and for students in families making less than $46,100 for a family of four in any school district in Ohio.
- Changes to rules about student:teacher ratios and length of the school year.
- Funding for charter school facilities.
- $300-million competitive grant program for districts trying “new strategies” for improving student learning and operational efficiency.
Under Kasich’s proposal, each district that levies 20 mills in property taxes (20 dollars for every $1,000 of assessed property value) would have the same amount of money to spend as a district with a $250,000 per pupil property tax base.That $250,000-per pupil property tax base represents the position of some of the richest school distircts in Ohio: Just 4 percent of districts are wealthier.
The state would make up the difference between what a local district raises at a 20-mill tax rate and what a $250,000 per-pupil property-tax base district could raise.
On top of that, districts would receive additional funding based on how many special education, low-income and gifted students they enroll. And, for the first time, Ohio would provide additional funding for schools to educate students who are still learning English.
It’s a model similar to ones Ohio has tried before, in the 1950s and 70s, but abandoned because it was too expensive.