To the editor:

What is wrong with this picture? Twenty-three years ago, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the elementary and secondary schools of Ohio were neither thorough nor efficient.

The court ordered a complete systematic overhaul of the school funding system. The over-emphasis on property tax in the funding formula and operation of the defective funding formula were cited as decisive problems.

The court ordered the state to fix the system. The system has not been fixed.

Three years ago, State Reps. Cupp and Patterson determined that they together would tackle this problem – Ohio’s school funding system being unconstitutional. With the assistance of superintendents, treasurers and other legislators, they crafted a plan to actually respond to the March 24, 1997 court order.

After extensive hearing, bill redrafting and more hearings, the Ohio House of Representatives passed the measure by a vote of 84-8 – an overwhelming majority. The roll was left open after the floor vote; three voted for it and one voted against it after the floor vote.

Now, a couple state senators in key positions are putting a hold on it. They have a convenient response: “They are skeptical.”

This response is unconscionable.

A recent Columbus Dispatch article by Anna Staver includes responses from some senators and the spokesman for the Senate Republicans. In the article, outgoing Ohio Democratic Chair David Pepper ripped the delay. “For the Ohio Senate’s Republican leaders to declare this bill dead on arrival is unconscionable," he said. "Whenever gun lobbyists or anti-abortion groups have a priority bill, their lapdogs in the Ohio General Assembly figure out how to move legislative mountains. Now that it’s Ohio kids who need help, GOP leaders in the state Senate can’t even bring up the bill for a vote."

See the full article at https://www.dispatch.com/story/news/education/2020/12/03/ohio-house-passes-new-k-12-funding-formula-but-senate-may-kill-measure-to-make-system-constitutional/3810589001/

Sincerely,
William L. Phillis
Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding
www.ohiocoalition.org