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Lawmaker Wants Ohio Rainy Day Fund Leftovers To Start School Funding Overhaul

An empty elementary school classroom in Westerville.
Karen Kasler
Ohio Public Radio
An empty elementary school classroom in Westerville.

State lawmakers are once again looking over a bipartisan school funding formula that passed the Ohio House overwhelmingly late last year but stalled in the Senate.

It would calculate a district’s state money with a formula of 60% property tax values and 40% income tax. This version of the overhaul (HB 1) includes what may be a problematic way to pay for it.

The previous funding formula overhaul was estimated to cost the state $2 billion on top of the more than $10 billion the state already spends on K-12 education.

State Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) says House Bill 1 proposes the money could come from sending leftover state funds to schools and not into the Rainy Day Fund or other programs. She admits that’s one-time money, but she says it’s a start.

“At some point we're going to have a dedicated revenue fund going to that, if we can kind of jumpstart that with these leftover monies, that could help," Sweeney said. "So House Bill 1 is not reliant on that. It just kind of help to get us to the next step."

But there could be conflicts, as other programs, such as Gov. Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio Lake Erie cleanup, also propose using leftover funds the same way as this school funding plan does.