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Ohio Senate Considers New School Funding Plan

photo of school classroom
Statehouse News Bureau
School districts across the state might have a change in funding, if the Fair School Funding Plan is enacted.

Ohio lawmakers may be on the verge of fixing Ohio’s broken school funding system. And one local school finance officer who helped develop the plan says it can’t happen soon enough.

The Fair School Funding Plan, or Senate Bill 376, moves away from exclusively using property values to determine district funding and instead aims to keep local dollars in each district.

The legislation builds on changes recommended by the School Funding WorkGroup which introduced a similar bill to the House last summer.

Akron Public Schools’ Chief Financial Officer Ryan Pendleton was a part of that group. He says it’s important this legislation is adopted in its entirety and soon.

“We need to get this over the finish line now. It needs to be this calendar year, this General Assembly," he said. "With term limitations and leadership changes and different initiatives, we will be educating a whole new General Assembly.”

Pendleton says the bill covers more than just the school funding system.

“It has some really important concepts, not only about a funding mechanism that’s equitable, but other areas of legislation that the General Assembly has wanted to work through and find solutions to, like education choice, community and charter funding,” he said.

Both the House and Senate bills have bipartisan support. Pendleton is hoping the plan will be passed during the lame duck session, before a new legislature takes office in January.

Abigail Bottar covers Akron, Canton, Kent and the surrounding areas for Ideastream Public Media.