ONTARIO -- Ontario Local Schools has announced it is joining hundreds of school districts statewide to support the Fair School Funding Plan, as introduced in the Ohio House as Sub. H.B. 305 and the Ohio Senate as S.B. 376, and is urging lawmakers to seize this moment to make history for Ohio's K-12 public schools.
The plan is an improved and comprehensive bipartisan remake of Ohio's current funding formula. It is also the product of three years of concentrated volunteer efforts by a group of active school superintendents and treasurers under the leadership of state representatives Bob Cupp (R-Lima), John Patterson (D-Jefferson) and Gary Scherer (R-Circleville).
Senators Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) and Vernon Sykes (D- Akron) introduced Senate Bill 376 as a companion bill to the House version. Ontario Local Schools is grateful for their leadership.
Ontario Local Schools Superintendent Lisa Carmichael says the plan focuses on what students need to ensure a high-quality education. She added it also gives weight to supporting classroom instruction, as well as making sure Ohio public school students can learn in a safe and secure environment while having access to state-of-the-art technology.
"This bi-partisan plan would make a very positive difference in funding for Ontario Local Schools, especially since it begins the process of eliminating the gain caps that have penalized our school district for years," Superintendent Lisa Carmichael said.
According to Ontario Local Schools Treasurer Randy Harvey, the current funding system is broken and unconstitutional; its provisions have not objectively determined a relationship to cost or need.
"H.B. 305 is a predictable and reliable funding model that shifts the burden of funding schools away from local property tax owners to the State," Harvey said. "This reliable funding stream means less need to go back to local taxpayers just to fund the basic operations. Although it will not eliminate the need for local levies, it will stabilize local property tax rates in Ontario Local Schools and slow the frequency with which districts like ours go to the voters."
Carmichael and Harvey said they believe the plan is fair for students and taxpayers, eliminates arbitrary caps on funding increases, reduces artificial guarantees and respects local control.
In addition to the Ontario Local School District and hundreds of other districts across Ohio, four of Ohio's most influential and prestigious educational organizations also declared their support for the Fair School Funding Plan: Ohio Association of School Business Officials, Buckeye Association of School Administrators, Ohio School Boards Association, Ohio Federation of Teachers and Ohio Education Association.