By J.D. Davidson
The Center Square

https://www.thecentersquare.com/

The way Ohio funds schools could change if a bill revived after nearly a year passes the General Assembly.

House Bill 305, which had its first hearing before the Senate Finance Committee in October 2019 and its sixth and last in November 2019, is expected to get new life Tuesday when State Reps. John Patterson, D-Jefferson, and Gary Scherer, R-Circleville, hold a news conference at 11 a.m. at the Ohio Statehouse.

“Weather is often the subject of conversation. In fact there is a common saying that “everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it.' Well, the same is often said about our state’s schools, everyone talks about the problems with school funding, but no one does much about it,” Cupp and Paterson said in written committee testimony in October 2019.

“A new school finance model was carefully crafted,” their testimony said. “It addresses the actual cost of educating children in today’s world and allocates those costs fairly between the state and local taxpayers.”

The representatives are expected to discuss Substitute House Bill 305, which is legislation to provide a comprehensive revision to the state’s primary and secondary school funding system.

The bill, according to a release announcing the news conference, was originally introduced in the spring of 2019 after more than 18 months of work by 16 active Ohio educators under the direction of House Speaker Bob Cupp and Patterson.

According to a fiscal analysis, the bill counts students for funding purposes where they go to school, rather than where they live. Currently, if a student open enrolls outside of their district, funding goes to the district.

The bill, which funding components are phased in over six years, also establishes a unique per-pupil cost and local capacity for raising money for each district. It also costs an estimated $1.04 billion more than the 2019 fiscal year formula.

The new formula, according to the analysis, would raise the per-pupil output by nearly $1,000 per student when it’s fully effective. Also, it guarantees each district will receive at least the same amount in fiscal years 2020 and 2021 as it did in fiscal year 2019.