To the editor:

In 1935, during the Great Depression, the state made a bold move to fix school funding. The first school foundation program was established and funded by a three-penny sales tax.

Over the following four decades, the state portion of the formula was reduced to the point that only a handful of districts were on the formula. In 1976, pursuant to an exhaustive study, the Equal Yield Formula was created and implemented; however, within four years, it was discontinued because most of the districts were again not on the formula.

Subsequent to 1980, at least a dozen extensive school finance studies have been conducted, including some serious efforts in response to the Court declaration that the system is unconstitutional. During the Gov. Strickland administration, the Ohio version of the evidence-based model was enacted, but discarded by the Gov. Kasich administration.

Today, most districts are on caps or guarantees. The Cupp-Patterson Fair School Funding plan would put most districts on the proposed formula.

But the perennial problem raises its ugly head – not enough state funding and no political will to raise the revenue required. Hence, the education community is once again in a contest to shift funds from one inadequate pot to another inadequate pot. This gives state officials license to just give every district a little more revenue without fixing the system.

The speaker of the Ohio House has said the Cupp-Patterson plan will not be in the House version of the budget bill. However, some key individuals are still attempting to make adjustments in the plan in a last ditch effort to include it in the House version of the state budget.

• Meanwhile, Congress, via the National Defense Authorization Act HR 5515 (115), has barred the Defense Department from providing money for Chinese language programs at colleges hosting a Confucius Institute

The Chinese government has been subsidizing U.S. universities that host Confucius Institutes. It appears that Congress considers this activity a national security issue.

Just wondering, why hasn’t Congress and state officials throughout the nation cut off funding for the nearly 200 Gulen charter schools?

Turkish Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, exiled in Saylorsburg, Pa., operates a worldwide political and religious movement with millions of adherents.

Sincerely,
William L. Phillis
Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding
www.ohiocoalition.org