Give fair funding formula a shot to help our schools

According to Ohio legislators, the proposed Fair School Funding Formula to revamp the state’s school funding system won’t be included in the two-year budget to be passed in June.

Like many of our local educators, we’re disappointed. This seemed like the first plan to receive widespread support in many years–and it’s been 22 years since the current system was determined to be unconstitutional.

At the same time, if there are some fixable flaws in the proposal, we do want our leaders to take time to fix them, rather than rushing to get something into place.

However, we hope the idea is indeed to fix this idea, not abandon it entirely.

We think it has potential and so do our area administrators. The formula could possibly make fairer distribution of state money to districts a reality and that’s something Ohio has been lacking. It also looks at the realistic costs of education today, not decades ago, and incorporates those numbers. It doesn’t rely completely on property taxes like the current formula.

Concerns about the Fair School Funding Formula include that some poor districts with declining enrollment would see budget cuts, while some wealthier districts see increases. That should be examined. Perhaps adjustments can be made.

This setback has caused alarm that this potential fix will just go by the wayside, as has happened before.

“If this doesn’t happen now, we’ll probably go another 25 years before we see another meaningful analysis,” Belpre City Schools Treasurer Lance Erlwein said this week.

We can’t let that happen.

We urge our legislators and education leaders–don’t start from scratch. Let’s fix this plan and put it into place, as soon as possible.

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