News Release: The Kasich Record: 5 School Funding Facts All Ohioans Need to Know

For Immediate Release: August 28, 2014
Contact: Dale Butland, 614-783-5833

The Kasich Record: 5 School Funding Facts All Ohioans Need to Know

Columbus — With a new school year now underway, Innovation Ohio today highlighted “five facts” it says all parents and taxpayers should know about education funding in the Buckeye state.  Documentation for all the facts below are available on the IO website.

Fact # 1:  Traditional public schools, which educate 90% of Ohio’s kids, now receive $515 million less state funding than before Gov. Kasich took office. The Governor and his allies have repeatedly blamed this shortfall on the “one-time stimulus money” Ohio received from the federal government during the recession, which they imply was “extra” money they had no duty to replace. In truth, federal law required that stimulus funds  be run through the states’ existing school funding formulas, and was intended to make up the difference between what states had been spending and what their lower tax revenues would  permit them to spend during the recession.  It was always anticipated that states would replace the federal money once their economies recovered.

Fact # 2: Ohio’s school funding system remains “unconstitutional” because of its over-reliance on property taxes. Although the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled four separate times that Ohio’s school funding system is unconstitutional, Gov. Kasich and his allies have not only refused to fix the problem, but their most recent state budget devotes, according to the non-partisan Ohio Legislative Service Commission, the smallest percentage of overall state spending to schools since FY 1997 — the year before the first Supreme Court ruling.

Fact # 3The cost of local school levies has jumped 34% under Gov. Kasich.  To offset state funding cuts, local taxpayers have been forced to pass levies raising 34% more new operating money than was required before Gov. Kasich took office.  And thanks to Gov. Kasich’s elimination of the 12.5% property tax roll-back, those levies have already cost local taxpayers $10 million more than they otherwise would have.

Fact # 4: Charter school funding has increased by 27% and charters now receive more state money per pupil than do traditional public schools .  While Gov. Kasich and his allies slashed state funding for traditional public schools, they simultaneously increased state funding to privately-run Charter schools by $193 million, even though many have performance and graduation rates that are worse than urban school districts.  In fact, nearly 1 out of every 4 state dollars paid to Charters since their inception have gone to poorly performing charters operated by David Brennan or William Lager who, together, have contributed over $5.4 million to Republican candidates and causes.

Fact # 5:  Private school vouchers have doubled under Kasich.  State funding for vouchers at private schools (over 90% of which are religiously affiliated) has risen from $99 million the year before Kasich took office to over $200 million this school year.  And under Kasich, the original rationale for vouchers (to allow desperately poor children to escape “failing” public schools in a few urban districts) has been turned on its head.  Today, middle class kids from districts rated “excellent” receive private school vouchers.   And since voucher money is deducted from the amount public school districts would otherwise receive, the end result is that taxpayers are now subsidizing religious and private school educations at the direct expense of the traditional public schools attended by their own children.

Said IO Communications Director Dale Butland:  “When it comes to schools, Gov. Kasich and his allies have flunked the test.  Traditional public schools are now receiving less money, and poorly performing charters are receiving more.  Local school levies have jumped dramatically, as have private school vouchers. And Ohio taxpayers are being forced to foot the bill for the entire fiasco.”