Fix funding system

Ohio lawmakers are halfway there in terms of finally fixing the state’s unconstitutional school funding system.

A proposal for doing so received broad bipartisan support in passing the House of Representatives on Thursday.

Now, however, the ball is in the state Senate’s court.

If senators are not careful, they could set the process back to square one.

At the end of the year, many who are now supportive of the proposal will leave office because of term limits, and the legislative process will restart next year.

There are state senators who say they have enough questions that the proposal should wait for the next General Assembly.

The folks we elect to serve us in Columbus have been trying without success for many years to do what the law says they must do — develop a constitutional school funding system.

They haven’t yet worked up a sense of urgency on the matter.

In 1997, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled the state’s school funding formula unconstitutional. The court has reaffirmed that ruling three times.

Because the funding system relies heavily on local property tax revenue, there have bee disparities between schools in more affluent areas and those in areas with lower property values. as a reult, not all students receive the same quality of education.

This year’s proposal –which, again, has already passed the House — has the support of groups ranging from teachers unions to those representing school boards and administrators.

School finance and operations officials across the state want legislators to support the plan.

While Eastern Ohio school districts face the prospect of yet another fiscal year waiting for the state to adjust its funding formula, lawmakers see no problem with the continued state of limbo.

If senators have questions, surely they can get answers quickly.

If they believe adjustments should be made, they can do that, too. Certainly Buckeye State children are worth making a little extra effort.


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