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Rep. Lightbody applauds House passage of bipartisan Fair School Funding Plan

Bill would transform broken school funding formula, invest in Ohio's future
December 3, 2020
Mary Lightbody News

COLUMBUS—Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville) today voted in favor of the Fair School Funding Plan, House Bill (HB) 305, bipartisan legislation sponsored by Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) that would transform the way Ohio’s schools are funded. Democratic lawmakers have long fought to reform the state’s school funding formula, which the Ohio Supreme Court has found unconstitutional four times, beginning with the DeRolph decision in 1997.

“House Bill 305 is a much needed update to Ohio’s school funding and creates a formula that allows for our students to receive the education they deserve. We must commit to investment in our students and ensure that our schools receive the funding they need. We must help young children get the pre-school experiences they need to start kindergarten on a level playing field and continue quality education until graduation,” said Rep. Lightbody.

“It remains now to our colleagues in the Senate to pass this bill with as much strong bipartisan support as the House has done.  This plan gives us the roadmap we need to fully fund our schools going forward.”

The Fair School Funding Plan would better determine the base cost of educating a typical Ohio student before supports such as Gifted Education, Special Education, poverty and transportation, among others are added. Ohio’s current formula lacks this input, which was a major factor in the DeRolph decision to rule the formula unconstitutional.

The bill would also address another key DeRolph finding: the current overreliance on property wealth in determining a district’s ability to fund its local share. The Fair School Funding Plan blends property and income wealth to determine a more precise, predictable basis for the local share.

After passing the House, HB 305 now moves to the Ohio Senate for consideration.