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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Study: Previous School Funding System gets an A

In the Dispatch this morning, it was reported that the Education Law Center at Rutgers gave Ohio's school funding system a pretty good grade. Unfortunately, the highest grades it received were while the Evidence Based Model of school funding was in place. The current administration eliminated that model this year, so now Ohio has no distribution formula.

The study looked at 2009 -- the year the EBM was put in place.

The report classifies Ohio's system then this way:
"Only 17 states have progressive funding systems, providing greater funding to high-poverty districts than to low-poverty districts. This is a small increase over the 14 progressive states in 2008. The most progressive funding systems are in Utah, New Jersey and Ohio."
As the Ohio House, to their credit, starts examining what a new system should look like, one thing they should do is look at the components of previous systems that did work, and incorporate them into the new system. The EBM was not perfect. But it did earn Ohio accolades for being innovative, creative and fair.

Finally, it would have been fair for the Dispatch to have mentioned the EBM in today's story. I'm not surprised it didn't, but the implication the story gave that Ohio's current system, which has no distribution formula, would receive a similar A grade for distributive fairness misinforms the public on the eve of one of the more important landmarks in Ohio's long, sordid school funding history.

And that's unfortunate.