Funding bill would boost schools, but Senate has doubts: See how much local school would get

Kettering, Vandalia among districts that would see immediate increase if plan passes

The long-awaited K-12 school funding overhaul approved in the Ohio House’s budget bill last week is being questioned in the Senate Education Committee, and is likely to see changes there.

This marks the second time in five months that the Senate has balked after the House passed a version of the new Fair School Funding Plan (by an 84-8 vote in December and 70-27 as part of the budget bill last week). The Education Committee heard hours of testimony on the bill this week.

The bipartisan plan, guided for three years by current House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) and former Democratic Rep. John Patterson, calculates the cost of teachers, busing, special education and other factors to determine a “base cost” to educate students. It uses that figure to calculate state funding for each school district.

The plan would increase state funding significantly over a phased-in period of years, and it is widely considered to fix long-standing constitutionality issues with Ohio’s school funding model.

Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) has said he likes parts of the bill, including direct funding of charter schools and private-school vouchers, rather than having that funding “pass through” public school districts. But Huffman said the Senate is likely to make changes.

School treasurers, superintendents and others who served on the workgroups that built the new funding plan explained the bill during Senate hearings this week.

Cincinnati-area Republican Sen. Louis Blessing, the vice chair of the Education Committee, pushed back against the bill, suggesting that it understates the cost increases that would be required.

Advocates of the plan have said state funding for K-12 schools would rise by $1.99 billion from today to full phase-in six years from now. Blessing said during a hearing Wednesday evening that the increase might be $2.44 billion.

Local school estimates

State funding would increase for nearly all school districts next fall if the Senate approved the plan as-is, but the increases would be slow at the beginning of the multi-year phase-in. Roughly 30 of 40 local school districts would see state funding increases of 0.1 to 3% in the first year, according to estimates published by the House Finance Committee.

But there are outliers — some districts whose state funding had been capped by previous school funding models would see a quick surge. The House Finance document predicts state funding increases of 10-11% each of the next two years for Kettering schools, 11% and 9% for Cedar Cliff, and 14% each year for Bethel, which has seen significant enrollment growth.

Vandalia-Butler and Tipp City would get 14% and 10% increases, respectively, in the first year, but then be flat to 1% down the next year.

Credit: Jeremy P. Kelley

Credit: Jeremy P. Kelley

Jefferson Twp., which is the area’s smallest school district and has seen enrollment decline in recent years, is the only district that would end the two-year budget cycle with less state funding than they get currently, under the new plan. Oakwood, Miami East, Bradford schools would see tiny increases of less than 1% combined over two years.

Extra money would help local school districts, but for some, state funding is a comparatively small factor, with local property taxes more prominent. The Kettering school district currently gets just over $16 million a year in base state funding, so 10-11% increases would mean an extra $1.7 million per year. That’s significant money but not an overwhelming change for a district with a $105 million annual budget.

On the other hand, schools in poorer communities get a much larger percentage of their budget from the state. So Dayton Public Schools’ seemingly small 2.2% projected increase for 2021-22 would mean an extra $2.6 million from this plan.

Details, federal money

The new plan, like most school funding efforts, has a ton of moving parts. In Senate hearings this week, legislators and educators debated weighted funding for low-income students, special education students, and kids who are just learning to speak English.

They discussed various funding levels for school technology, for serving gifted students, and for school district busing, as districts are responsible for transporting private and charter school students as well as their own.

While a new funding plan could affect each of those individual areas, schools are also getting a boost this year in the form of one-time federal COVID relief funds that can go to some, but not all, of those uses.

According to state documents, that federal aid will total an extra $10-17 million each for several local districts — Huber Heights, Kettering, Northridge, Fairborn, Xenia, Miamisburg, West Carrollton and Mad River.

The formula for that aid is tied to poverty data, so while Springboro schools were allocated only $1.36 million and Tipp City $1.86 million, Trotwood schools’ total is $22.9 million, and Dayton a whopping $131 million.

School funding projections
School district2021-22 aidChange from 20-212022-23 aidChange from 21-22
Dayton $121,913,536 $2,608,094 $122,061,961 $148,425
Kettering $18,088,318 $1,742,941 $19,957,988 $1,869,670
Tipp City $8,361,616 $804,971 $8,253,096 $(108,520)
Bethel $5,394,204 $677,628 $6,135,822 $741,618
Trotwood-Madison $25,664,346 $632,324 $26,196,039 $531,693
Vandalia-Butler $4,864,743 $607,327 $4,857,753 $(6,990)
Piqua $18,832,406 $599,587 $19,512,694 $680,288
Mad River $30,322,191 $535,026 $31,185,290 $863,099
Fairborn $19,538,100 $524,842 $20,237,463 $699,362
Franklin $12,847,595 $456,845 $13,177,700 $330,105
Huber Heights $33,631,369 $401,128 $33,682,449 $51,079
Northridge $13,352,620 $353,541 $14,242,183 $889,563
Centerville $13,327,103 $348,525 $13,795,158 $468,055
Cedar Cliff $3,320,833 $335,736 $3,633,324 $312,491
Northmont $23,524,830 $307,512 $23,557,745 $32,915
Brookville $6,637,723 $303,417 $7,110,547 $472,824
Beavercreek $11,898,809 $291,566 $12,167,198 $268,390
Lebanon $19,788,582 $267,713 $19,838,590 $50,008
West Carrollton $21,050,175 $259,818 $21,489,340 $439,165
Miamisburg $16,111,417 $252,185 $16,127,586 $16,170
Tecumseh $20,948,679 $219,624 $20,973,279 $24,600
Xenia $20,271,778 $212,158 $20,306,143 $34,365
Greeneview $6,680,893 $171,677 $6,695,814 $14,921
Greenon $5,093,883 $167,781 $5,156,903 $63,019
Troy $16,413,586 $153,658 $16,433,743 $20,157
Yellow Springs $2,499,297 $118,387 $2,574,468 $75,171
Eaton $10,375,233 $110,505 $10,391,664 $16,431
Sugarcreek $6,260,835 $109,821 $6,297,660 $36,825
Covington $5,012,369 $102,914 $5,168,665 $156,297
Valley View $9,054,933 $97,440 $9,074,767 $19,834
Carlisle $9,051,051 $94,442 $9,060,594 $9,543
Springboro $14,792,276 $73,900 $14,989,505 $197,229
Wayne $4,577,858 $61,244 $4,593,137 $15,278
New Lebanon $8,510,875 $57,172 $8,526,496 $15,621
Milton-Union $6,968,392 $49,926 $7,006,226 $37,834
Miami East $5,522,873 $11,988 $5,529,254 $6,381
Newton $4,017,326 $11,119 $4,226,301 $208,975
Bradford $4,412,378 $3,947 $4,439,931 $27,553
Jefferson Twp. $1,935,170 $647 $1,927,068 $(8,102)
Oakwood $6,470,772 $(17,369) $6,494,525 $23,753
These are projections from the Fair School Funding Plan passed by the Ohio House. State aid is one part of each school district's funding, making up as little as 10% of the budget in wealthier districts and as much as 75% of the budget in poorer districts. NOTE: State aid totals listed are NET of any transfers for charter and voucher students, as well as student wellness funds. SOURCE: Ohio House of Representatives

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