House Version of K-12 Formula has Less Funding than Kasich Plan; Witness Press for Greater Investment in Education
Gongerwer Ohio, Volume #82, Report #70, Article #5 - Thursday, April 11, 2013
On Thursday, April 11, the Ohio House Finance and Appropriations Committee held a hearing on the House Substitute for H.B. 59 - the budget proposed by Gov. John Kasich, which includes his school funding proposal. The substitute bill drastically changes the proposed school funding formula and proposes funding Ohio's schools at $6.6 billion in FY14 and $6.9 billion in FY15.
David Romick, President of the Dayton Education Association and Ohio 8 Coalition Leadership Team member, testified on behalf of the Ohio 8. In his testimony, Mr. Romick shared several concerns regarding the new formula which included special education catastrophic cost funding, voucher expansion and the contract out provision.
[Mr. Romick] expressed concern about the "contract out" provision in the budget, which would require school districts that fail to show "consistent progress" in serving certain student subgroups to turn state funds over to an organization that has "demonstrated" an ability to serve those students.
While he appreciated the "additional flexibility in the language changes made in the substitute bill," he said the provision still offers no accountability for the non-district organizations and might hurt districts' ability to plan funding for each student group. He also asked how contracting out to outside groups would help low-income students and said districts are already partnering with organizations in areas where such collaboration can make a positive impact.
Mr. Romick also made several recommendations to the committee and advocated for increased preschool funding and increased funding for transportation.
He praised the proposed increase in student transportation reimbursement levels, but he offered two concerns. First, he asked for an increase in motor fuel excise tax reimbursement for student transportation up to mass transit levels, noting the current rate has sat at 6 cents for several years. Secondly, he asked that districts be reimbursed for the additional costs of transporting special education students on regular school buses.