COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Some Columbus City School parents say the way schools are funded here and across the state needs to be re-evaluated.
More than two decades ago, Ohio’s school funding formula, which was based on property taxes, was ruled unconstitutional in DeRolph vs. State, but since then, the funding formula has not changed. And parents, like Regina Prince, who has two kids in the Columbus City School District, said the funding plan does not work.
“I can see the lack of resources, especially compared to other districts,” Prince said. “The school just needs more and the way to solve that is funding.” For example, she said buses often run late, and when they do, there are no tracking devices on them for parents to know where their students are unless they have a cell phone.
And she said when kids are struggling or if there’s a conflict, they are often removed from the classroom with no further intervention and Prince said the need for mental health resources within schools has only grown since the pandemic.
“There’s just never enough resources for any kids who are struggling with their emotions or needing conflict management,” Prince said. “There’s just not enough mental health resources.”
Prince supports the fair school funding plan, which would provide nearly two billion dollars in additional funding to public schools over 6 years and would create a new formula to give seventy percent of revenue to the poorest districts.
At the Statehouse — a new funding plan in 2019, which garnered more than 70 bi-partisan co-sponsors, made its way through a committee meeting, but ultimately got held up in the Senate after passing the House.
The plan is now back up for discussion, making its way through the state budget, and would calculate a district’s share using a 60/40 split of property values and family income. At the same time, the Backpack Bill, which would give students school choice, is also back on the table and a priority for the Speaker of the House.
“I support what it costs to educate a child in Ohio, fully funding the program and then giving parents choice,” Representative Riordan McClain (R-Upper Sandusky) said. Critics of the backpack bill said it is anti-public school and will only further take away funding. But supporters of the bill say it does not have to be one plan or the other.
“They can coexist, and I think the education in Ohio will be better across the board when they coexist,” McClain said.