Allocating funds among hundreds of school districts to ensure all provide the "thorough and efficient" education required by the state constitution is easier said than done, as Ohio Gov. John Kasich is learning.
Soon after taking office less than a year ago, Kasich pledged to overhaul the state formula for funding public schools. By January a plan would be in place, the governor thought.
He was wrong. His advisers say the January deadline was a self-imposed one that won't be met. Better to get it right than to get it on time, they add.
They are right, of course. Public education reform is among the chief concerns of many Buckeye State residents. But merely finding a way to dole out money more equitably is not enough.
When the state Supreme Court ruled a few years ago that the funding system had to be revamped, one of the justices' top priorities was equitability. Too much reliance on property taxes to fund schools left poorer counties behind their richer neighbors, the high court decided.
Such rulings have been made in several states, including West Virginia. And school funding formulas have been changed to distribute money more fairly. But improving schools has been another matter.
As West Virginians learned, simply ensuring all school districts have what seems to be enough money does not ensure they will provide quality educations.
Since the Mountain State's high court ruled on the funding issue a couple of decades ago, the state Department of Education has had to take over about half a dozen county school districts that were not making good use of taxpayers' dollars.
It may well be that Kasich and his advisers - after emphasizing they wanted to improve public schools, not just change how they are funded - are concerned about how the state can use its power better to reform failing schools. That and the funding issue go hand in hand.
So the governor and his advisers are right to insist on developing a good school reform plan rather than simply churning one out in a hurry. Let's hope they make good progress on that during the coming year.