Ohio Gov. John Kasich has released his new school funding plan for elementary, middle and high schools throughout Ohio. Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles reports on the plan and how it is being received.
Governor Kasich says schools need to become more efficient. And he says government needs to become better at funding schools in a way that encourages that. He says his plan takes politics out of the process.
KASICH: "The minute you play politics is the minute you get lost. And we did not want to do that. We wanted to deliver the resources of this state fairly. And we wanted to make sure that every boy and girl, no matter what district they come from, are going to be in a position to have the resources they need to be able to compete with boys and girls in any other district across the state."
Kasich says his new plan is fully funded and constitutional. And he stresses no school district will receive fewer dollars than it did last year. But the formula for determining how much schools will get in the future will change.
Kasich says some school districts that have low property values and low incomes will get more state money under this formula. He says his plan assumes all school districts will receive a base amount -- 20 mils -- and if low income school districts can’t meet that amount on their own, the state will make up the difference.
He adds some districts could be getting more on top of that, depending on the makeup of their student population and programs.
Take disabled students for example. There would be a dollar amount that would be allotted specifically for programming for those students. And there would be a one time $300 million pool of money that schools could get a piece of to fund innovative programs that would improve performance and save money.
KASICH: "This is not like some difficult thing to figure out. If you are poor, you are going to get more. If you are richer, you are going to get less, both in the first 20 and the next 15. If you have disabled students, you are going to get help. If you have gifted students, you are going to get help. It’s not like, I didn’t get mine, so therefore I should run to the legislature to figure out how to take it from someone else. This is why I said at the beginning of this...this is not some politicized deal. One person said to me...'Why don’t you fund more Republican districts?' And you know what the answer is? It's not the way you do this if you put boys and girls first and the schools first. You do it on the basis of where it's needed and where kids have the best chance."
Kasich says the kindergarten formula will change. Schools that provide all day kindergarten will get twice as much money. And speaking of kindergarten and first grade -- more of those students will be able to use vouchers for private schools.
That’s something that Cynthia Williams likes. Her child is already in a charter online school.
WILLIAMS: "I think putting power in the parents hands, who ultimately know what is best for their child, to decide what the child’s school of choice should be is a good thing. And the more options we have, whether those are vouchers, charter schools or online e-schools like my child attends, I think it’s a good thing."
The plan is already drawing criticism from Democrats. Jerid Kurtz is with the Ohio Democratic Party.
KURTZ: "The governor has introduced an education plan that is short on details."
Democrats want to see details Kasich’s plan. But so far, there’s one area that already has them upset.
KURTZ: "One thing we know for sure is that the governor chose not to restore the $1.8 billion in cuts that he slashed, that were epic and historical in 2011. He hasn’t made those up. And that was the biggest criteria looking at this program."
District by district breakdowns of Kasich’s plan are set to be released the middle of next week.