LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s been over 20 years since the Ohio Supreme Court ruled the way we fund our schools is unconstitutional. Now, there’s a plan being floated around that could change the formula.
The heavy use of property taxes to fund schools in Ohio was ruled unconstitutional by the state’s supreme court.
A state lawmaker from Ashtabula County is leading a bill through the state House that would change the way Ohioans pay for public education.
Representative John Patterson presented his new Ohio Schools Fair Funding Formula at a special meeting Monday night at Lordstown High School.
Patterson believes the idea is exactly what the state needs to improve its public schools.
“The whole idea of this bill is to come up with a fair funding formula that is fair for our students. It gives them the funding, the support that they need,” he said.
Lordstown Schools Superintendent Terry Armstrong said the district is about to lose a big source of revenue ever since the GM plant closed.
“It would provide financial stability. We’ve already lost tangible personal property tax dollars that the state took away. When it’s all phased out, that’s a loss of $1.6 million a year,” Armstrong said.
Patterson said the new formula would give all of Ohio’s 611 public school districts more secure and reliable sources of revenue. The state government will kick in $1.5 billion over six years.
“This would allow school districts to predict what services they could offer and then pay for them over a longer period of time, which helps our local students and our local taxpayers,” Patterson said.
Armstrong said under the current system, too much is being asked of local taxpayers. So, the new formula would lessen that burden.
“It’s still unfair to the taxpayers of districts that get $2,500 or $3,000 a student because the state decides to cap us,” Armstrong said.
Patterson has 66 co-sponsors from both parties in the Ohio House.
He hopes to get the bill through both the state House and Senate in this legislative session.
If successful, the bill would go into effect in July 2021.