COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio Senate and the Ohio House is working through their differences over the state budget and one of the biggest dividers is the school funding plan.
“I come from the small town of Lima,” said parent Taylor Pennington. “It is a poor town, there’s not a lot going on, there’s not a lot of resources, and we have lost a lot of our children to not having certain systems in place.”
On Wednesday, a group of educators, parents, and teachers headed to the Ohio Statehouse to urge the Senate to agree with the House’s Fair School Funding Plan.
The group said it’s taken lawmakers too long to act on the funding plan that was ruled unconstitutional more than 20 years ago. They say the current funding plan disproportionately impact inner city and low-income children.
“Twenty-four years ago. These legislators have some homework that is overdue,” said Molly Shack, co-executive director of the Ohio Organizing Collaborative.
The House plan looks at a six-year gradual approach to funding. The formula figures the cost of educating a student.
“The point is I don’t want the Lima city schools and all 608 other school districts in the state, six years from now, to get a tremendous drop in their funding because the state doesn’t have the money,” said Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima).
The Senate argues the plan is not sustainable and is proposing a funding formula that would send more money, but only for the next two years.
Teachers and parents say it is time lawmakers find the money and prioritize Ohio’s students.
“I don’t believe that they have made some children a priority,” Pennington said. “Children that are in public school districts and poorer areas, they haven’t been a priority.”
The Senate passed its budget Wednesday afternoon. Both chambers will most likely go to conference committee to sort out differences in the budget including the school funding plan.
The deadline to pass a budget is June 30.