Friday, April 16, 2010

More $$$ but Less Control: Ohio School Reform

The State of Ohio has recently changed its method for funding Ohio public schools. This controversial model was enacted as part of the 2010-2011 state budget; the model is called the Ohio Evidence-Based Model. The model will be phased in over the next ten years. Along with this funding change comes education reform to “modernize” the Ohio public schools. At a time when several states are decreasing education spending the Governor of Ohio has chose to increase the spending.

The Organization, Ohio Education Matters explains the Governors reform plan including the funding mechanism, Ohio evidence-based model, this model, “reduces the overreliance on local property taxpayers to fund Ohio’s public schools.”

According to the Ohio Education Matters,

The Governor’s plan:
• Raises the state share of education funding to more than 60 percent when fully phased in FY 2018-2019
• Eliminates “res
idual budgeting” by an evidence-based model that uses research to cost out the components of a quality education
• Begins the phase out of “phantom revenue” by lowering the state charge-off to 22-mills this biennium and allowing states to use conversion levies to reach the 20-mill floor
• Creates the Ohio School Funding Advisory Council to continuously review and update the funding formula through recommendations to the governor and legislature
• With resources (Title 1 and IDEA) from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, all school di
stricts receive an increase in FY 10. Ohio’s public school districts will receive an average of 5.78 percent increase in FY 10 (over FY 09) and an average 5.54 percent increase in FY 11 (over FY
09). * With ARRA resources, five districts receive a decrease in FY 11, the greatest reduction is .6 percent.
• Under the Governor’s plan, poorer districts receive the largest financial benefit. Without factoring in federal Title 1/IDEA ARRA resources, 79 percent of Ohio’s 124 poorest school districts will receive a funding increase in FY 10 and 85 percent will receive an increase in FY 11.

The website, Ohio Education Matters, also states that there is vast support for the plan throughout the state and nation. However, there is some dissent. The plan seems to remove control education from the local government and school districts and puts the control into the states hands. The state will pay for 60 percent of school funding but it will also control how schools districts spend their money.

A 6 million dollar study from Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Facing the Future: Financing Productive Schools suggests Governor Strickland’s program is more of the same and would “scuttle any modernizing effects.” The report suggests that this type of top down control does not allow for proper use of funds as all districts have different needs. “That study shows that ‘schools and systems that work best, especially for poor and disadvantaged youngsters, are not all alike: they use funds, teachers, students' time, materials, and technology very differently.’"

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