Ohio Dept of Education Asks Supreme Court to Keep School Enrollment Formula
The Ohio Supreme Court heard oral arguments today (Wed) in a dispute between the Toledo, Dayton, and Cleveland school districts and the Ohio Department of Education. As Ideastream’s Mark Urycki reports the outcome could mean millions of dollars for those schools.
Beginning in 2005 the state board of education decided to change its school enrollment calculations to trust local public schools less and rely more on what charter schools reported. They clawed back money from several big city districts and were helped out in 2009 when the general assembly passed a law saying they could recoup money retroactively. The school districts sued.
Justice William O’Neil asked the schools’ attorney Nicholas Pittman what right was violated?
“What substantive, vested right was taken away by the retroactive application of the new statute . . I paid you too much yesterday; give it back to me today.”
PITTMAN “The substantive right, your honor, was very clear: the right to have school funding calculated in accordance with the law as it was in effect in 2005.
O’NEIL “So it’s not the money, it’s the formula.”
PITTMAN “It’s the formula”
Pittman also argues the state cannot enforce a law retroactively. And that’s the crux of the questions for the court. Education Department lawyer Eric Murphy argued the state can because schools are simply subdivisions of the state
“And our position is the general assembly can do that precisely because the state subdivisions lack vested rights within the meaning of the -the original meaning of the constitution.
If the school districts win, the state department of ed would have to pay back some $40 million dollars to public schools.