Gov. Kasich Discusses School Funding Plan
Updated: Thursday, January 31 2013, 07:59 PM EST
COLUMBUS -- Ohio school superintendents will have to wait for details about how Gov. John Kasich’s new school funding model will apply to their specific districts, but initial responses were warm Thursday.
“I think we do need to see the model and how it applies to individual school districts before we can really respond, but generally I have a very positive attitude about what we were able to see today,” said Delaware City Schools superintendent Paul Craft.
Kasich revealed his plan to a hotel ballroom full of school leaders Thursday afternoon. He will continue to pitch the plan in the Cincinnati area on Friday.
Kasich’s first promise was that no school district would receive fewer dollars than last year. He went on to say that school districts that are property-poor will be put on a level playing field with more affluent districts.
Ohio governors have struggled to address the state’s school funding formula, which the state supreme court ruled unconstitutional years ago.
Kasich said his plan will pass constitutional muster.
“We want to make sure every boy and girl, no matter what district they come from, are going to be in a position to have the resources they need to compete with boys and girls in any other district in the state,” Kasich said.
The plan would guarantee that every district would be funded as if their average property value was $250,000.
Kasich also proposed school vouchers based on a family’s poverty level, a $300 million, one-time grant program, and allocating funds based on student needs.
“I’m excited about the component where funding is targeted towards kids who cost extra to educate,” Craft said.
Cincinnati Public Schools superintendent Mary Ronan said of the voucher proposal: “It does give families and parents choices. I don’t know how that will impact districts in terms of funding.”
Kasich’s detractors criticized the proposal for being short on details, and failing to restore $1.8 billion in school budget cuts the administration made in the 2011.
The administration says the plan adds a total of $1.2 billion dollars over two years; it’s unclear where that money will come from. More details are expected to be revealed as Kasich rolls out his budget plan next week.
The budget and the school funding proposal will require the approval of the Ohio General Assembly.
Reporter: Dana Jay
Web Producer: Ken Hines