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OEA urges passage of Fair School Funding Plan in light of new revenue estimates

[February 4, 2021] Following testimony from the non-partisan Ohio Legislative Service Commission (LSC) estimating nearly a billion dollars more in tax revenue over the next biennium than Governor Mike DeWine’s executive spending plan budgeted for, the Ohio Education Association (OEA) is calling on the General Assembly to take up and approve the Fair School Funding Plan immediately. As the LSC figures reflect, there will be about the same amount of new revenue available in the next state budget as it would take to fully fund House Speaker Robert Cupp’s plan.

“Our students can’t afford to wait any longer for Ohio’s leaders to do the right thing,” said OEA President Scott DiMauro. “The state can no longer justify its failure to act. The money is there to finally deliver on the promise of world-class education for all Ohio students once and for all.”

The Fair School Funding Plan (FSFP), which was passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support in the Ohio House during the last legislative session, would enact a student-centered school funding formula that is equitable, adequate, predictable, and that ensures that all students have the resources to succeed regardless of where they live or their family’s income. The FSFP would provide an additional $1.99 billion in state aid when fully phased in and provides about 70% of the increased funds to the poorest urban, small town, and rural districts in the state. Importantly, it would finally fix the state’s broken funding system, which was ruled unconstitutional decades ago by the Ohio Supreme Court in 1997’s landmark DeRolph v. State of Ohio ruling.

The Ohio Senate refused to consider the FSFP legislation in the last legislative session, and Gov. DeWine refused to include it in the executive budget ‘blue book’ released earlier this week. Instead, he punted the issue back to the legislature.

“We’ve had three generations of Ohio students go through an unconstitutionally funded school system, leaving them victims to a scheme that has never accurately reflected the true cost of educating kids in this state. Legislators can easily end that seemingly ceaseless cycle by passing Speaker Cupp’s school funding plan,” DiMauro said. “The time for excuses is over. The time for action is now.”

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