On Tuesday, Republicans in the Ohio House put forth a budget proposal that included an education funding formula quite different than the one Governor John Kasich put forward in his two year spending blueprint.
Many welcomed the news that, under Governor Kasich’s plan, no schools would see their funding levels cut from the previous year. Yet, 60% of Ohio schools would get no funding increase, including some poorer districts, and some wealthy districts would have seen fairly large funding increases.
School districts like Kettering, Huber Heights, and Vandalia Butler would have received sizable increases and based on that, those schools withdrew levy requests on the May ballot. The House plan released Tuesday caps district funding increases to 6 percent a year. State Senator Peggy Lehner says now, those schools that pulled their levy requests from the may ballot are in a state of limbo.
She says, "You know, they knew when they pulled that levy, that the whole process was subject to review and that number wouldn’t probably stand. It’s that uncertainty, because you really need to know how much you actually do need before you go to the voters. Otherwise, you’re just asking for voters to turn down the levy based on just confusion."
And Lehner says the process of hammering out a compromise on the final budget proposal has only just begun, adding "We will be having hearings until early June at which time we will put together a bill, let it be voted on, and then we’ll end up in conference committee the last couple of weeks trying to align the two versions of the bill."
After the budget make its way through the House, it moves on to the Senate, and eventually back to the Governor’s desk. After all that, School district’s looking for more funding will need to make their case to voters in the fall.