News Release: The School Funding Squeeze

IO ANALYSIS: THE SCHOOL FUNDING SQUEEZE

Factors that squeeze the value of state aid to schools and what can be done to change it

COLUMBUS – Innovation Ohio, a progressive policy think tank, released an analysis that examines how over a decade of income tax cuts and increased funding to charter schools have squeezed school funding in Ohio. The report describes how the value of state aid to local schools has been diminished and what the state legislature can do right now to fix it.

“We must alleviate the school funding squeeze that has been created by years of perpetual tax cuts and careless charter school spending,” said Innovation Ohio President Keary McCarthy. “In addition to needed charter school reform, we should immediately invest in high-quality schools for our students, not more tax cuts that favor those at the top.”

Innovation Ohio Education Policy Fellow Stephen Dyer previewed this analysis before the Ohio House Finance, Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee yesterday evening. Dyer urged the committee to “strengthen the proposed charter accountability measures it is considering and commit to a meaningful funding formula for Ohio’s schools.”

The Innovation Ohio analysis found that:

1. Over the last ten years, Ohio has been investing up to $3 billion annually in tax cuts for the rich instead of high-quality schools for our students.

2. Since 2011, state aid has dropped below 50 percent forcing local revenue now paying for the majority share of the public education funding mix.

3. When factoring in lost revenue to charter schools, education spending as a share of the budget drops to a historic low of 23 percent.

4. In the 2016-17 budget proposal, the percentage of local school districts that face funding cuts jumps from 51 to 67 percent when subtracting the amount of state aid that goes to charters.

5. In too many cases, state funding to charter schools reduces the amount of the total per-pupil funding available to students in local public schools, even with their local revenue.

The immediate fixes suggested by Innovation Ohio include using a portion of the revenue ($4.5 billion) for income tax cuts to instead increase state aid to schools by $1 billion; reducing the cost of new levies for local taxpayers by reinstating the 12.5 percent property tax rollback; base charter funding on the actual cost to educate a charter-enrolled student; and fund charters directly instead of driving that state aid through local schools districts.

Read the Innovation Ohio analysis: The School Funding Squeeze

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Media Contact: Keary McCarthy, 614-425-9163