Budget Testimony from IO Education Fellow, Stephen Dyer

Innovation Ohio’s Education Fellow, Stephen Dyer, testified in the Ohio Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday, May 11. He discussed how the pending state budget bill only worsens inequalities in our school funding system, already found to be unconstitutional for an over-reliance on local property wealth. He also discussed charter schools and changes in the state budget that make their operators less accountable. From his testimony:

Now, efficiency and effectiveness would tell me that the state should spend money where it gets the best results at the lowest cost, right? Well, through the foundation program, the state spends more than twice as much per pupil to educate children at community schools, where nearly half of the schools rate a D or F on the state report card. Meanwhile, the state spends less than half as much per pupil to educate children in school districts, where nearly half the districts rate A or A+ on the state report card. I simply ask, “Where is the state’s foundation dollar best spent?”

Finally, IO’s Dyer proposed several practical and meaningful improvements that could be made to the legislation through the amendment process, including one we think is critical:

Base school funding decisions on the property tax millage it would take to replace any state cuts. Looking at percentages is meaningless when wealthy school districts receive only a tiny fraction — easily replaced with a relatively tiny tax levy — of their total funding from the state.

Read Dyer’s complete Senate Finance testimony.