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Governor Proposes Big Changes In State’s School Funding Formula

Arise Academy in Dayton is now closed, and former leaders of the school have been convicted of federal crimes.
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Governor Kasich’s proposed two-year budget makes big changes to the formula used to fund K-12 schools. He says those districts that have the highest property wealth and the highest income from taxpayers will get less money from the state.  And he knows that might mean many suburban schools will be flat funded, or even face cuts.

“Now it’s going to mean about half of the school districts in the state are going to see negative numbers," Kasich said. He says he realizes some suburban districts, areas that tend to favor Republicans in elections, might not like this new formula.  But he says it is fair, and since it will be based on growth, some high growth districts will actually see increases in funding.

The $72.3 billion operating budget calls for a $700 million increase in funding to schools. According to the Ohio Department of Education, 287 school districts get funding increases in the budget and 323 see funding reduced. 

Budget director Tim Keen told state lawmakers a formula that's ineffective in getting dollars to the neediest districts is unacceptable.

Kasich's budget also reduces districts' state guarantee and resumes phase-out of two tax streams they've received, reducing state payments by $235 million over two years.

Budget director Keen is also defending a proposed increase in the state sales tax, saying he believes reductions in the state income tax would allow consumers more choice in how they spend their money.

Members of the House Finance Committee on Tuesday questioned the impact that the half-cent jump could have on their constituents' pocketbooks.   

Keen said the governor's budget helps give money back to Ohioans by cutting the income-tax rate by 23 percent over the next two years.

Kasich also has proposed boosting the state's sales tax from 5.75 percent to 6.25 percent and broadening it to include services such as cable TV subscriptions, parking and lobbying.

Democratic Rep. Denise Driehaus of Cincinnati criticized the plan as tax shifting.