Don’t Let Politics Influence Reform

The sooner legislators take a serious look at the mess that is Ohio’s school funding formula, the better, of course. Students in many school districts, including some in East Ohio, have suffered for too long.

It has been pointed out that though school funding reform was a keystone of Gov. Ted Strickland’s election campaign, the governor has not yet taken action on the issue.

It certainly appears that the governor has had enough time to prepare a proposal for the General Assembly — but any plan suggested during the next year faces a serious hazard: politics.

Political considerations are bad enough at any time, of course. But with an election on the horizon, many of those involved in addressing school funding reform will be looking over their shoulders. They will want to please — certainly not alienate — important special interest groups. Now is not the time to upset those who influence campaign contributions and endorsements, some lawmakers may worry.

Perhaps not — but, again, Ohioans already have waited too long for reform. It has been 10 years since the state Supreme Court ruled that the school funding formula was inequitable.

Will Strickland issue a proposal during the next several months? We hope so. At the same time, however, Ohioans need to be on guard against the special interests that will use the pressures of an election year to get what they want.