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Report Says State Aid Hasn't Bridged Gap Between Affluent, High Poverty School Districts

Ohio Education Policy Institute

A report commissioned by Ohio’s three major public school groups shows that state funding for K-12 education hasn’t bridged the gap between rich and poor districts, and hasn't kept pace with inflation.

It’s the first comprehensive look at state and local aid for schools since a landmark Ohio Supreme Court ruling declaring the property tax based funding system unconstitutional.

The report looked at state and local funding for Ohio’s more than 600 school districts over the last twenty years. Though the DeRolph ruling said the state must find a more equitable way to fund schools, researcher Howard Fleeter says overall distribution of state and local money hasn’t changed much.

“The percentage increase that the low-wealth districts had over this 20 years is 3.8% more than the high wealth places," Fleeter said.

That’s $107 more per pupil in the poorest districts – where nearly 80 percent of kids are economically disadvantaged.

And Fleeter says three quarters of the increase in state money came in the first ten years after DeRolph, while local revenues have been going up in the second decade.