Home Education OPINION: Ohio’s Fair School Funding Plan is anything but fair

OPINION: Ohio’s Fair School Funding Plan is anything but fair

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Opinion writer Charlotte Caldwell argues that the recently proposed Fair School Funding Plan only serves to shuffle resources from school districts most in need of assistance to wealthier districts.

Ohio lawmakers recently developed the “Fair School Funding Plan” to try to allocate more state spending to school districts, but the results are anything but fair.

While this new plan would devote 10.5% more state spending to school districts over the next two years, districts with lower poverty rates will be getting over $100 more per pupil than districts with high poverty rates. Some school districts – urban ones that need the most help – will not see any increase in money at all.

Some school districts that aren’t seeing a money increase are either at risk of state takeovers or have already undergone it due to poor academic performance. For example, Dayton Public Schools are set for state takeover next school year, but they will be the only district in the region to see no increase in funding. Meanwhile, some of the richest school districts in the suburbs of Dayton, like Beavercreek and Kettering, will see big increases.

When people asked about the funding of urban districts, they received replies from lawmakers like, “Are they failing because they aren’t getting enough resources?” and, “We’re proposing a fair, rational, well-thought-out proposal.” These responses give people the assumption that lawmakers don’t understand the disparity of many urban school districts.

Unlike other wealthier districts that receive most of their funding locally, urban districts receive most of their funding from the state, due to low property values. For the Dayton Public School district, an increase in state funding could have gone to building maintenance, mental health resources and busing. All of these resources are important because they would make it easier for students to achieve more in school, even if some lawmakers think the money increase wouldn’t help some school’s state performance ratings.

The money could have also been used to pay teachers higher salaries, especially since Dayton teachers are among the lowest paid in Ohio’s large urban districts. This almost caused a strike among teachers two school years ago in the district. The low wages also extend to bus drivers, who also almost went on strike the same year.

Funding our future leader’s educations should be one of the top priorities for states, but trying to find $1.1 billion over the next two years to fund this plan sounds unreasonable. Taxpayers from wealthy districts already argue that it’s unfair that they have to pay taxes for districts other than they own in the current system. They may support the plan since their school districts are the ones receiving the most money, but some residents in urban areas will start to feel how unfair this plan really is.

While wealthy districts continue to get wealthier, poor districts wait for the day when their districts will be taken over by the state. This problem wouldn’t be completely solved with an increase in funding, but these districts would be able to fund much-needed improvements and would be able to give underprivileged students the education that they deserve.

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