Fine Tune Ohio School Funds Plan

Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s plan to provide more state aid to school districts with relatively low property tax bases is a good one. But somewhere between concept and execution, the strategy falls short.

Of the 15 school districts in Belmont, Jefferson, Monroe and Harrison counties, just two are slated to receive more money under the Kasich plan. Funding for the 13 others is to remain flat. Under the proposal, Toronto City schools are to receive a 16.87-percent boost in state aid, with Steubenville City schools to get 2.69 percent more.

That may have seemed adequate to budget planners working with numbers they, in Columbus, did not understand were outdated in a way. The change occurred last year when RG Steel filed for bankruptcy, closing several facilities in East Ohio school districts.

School officials – and employees – in several local districts have done excellent work in holding their budgets in line during recent years. But the steel company bankruptcy will hurt many of them, some severely.

Kasich should have his budget planners take another look at the proposed school funding formula. It should be fine tuned to provide more aid to the East Ohio school districts that on paper may seem to be doing fine, but in reality need more help.