School Funding

Column Joel Parker: Mr. Huffman, continue the discussion on funding schools


Northwestern Ohio is blessed with great schools, great sports, and two of Columbus’ most prominent lawmakers. Speaker of the House Bob Cupp and Speaker of the Senate Matt Huffman are both important leaders on many issues and are currently no better than conversations about funding schools. For many reasons, this debate is hoped that there will be benefits and that the Senate will work hard to continue the discussion on funding schools.

What about inflation?

Senator Huffman recently said that the increase in public funding outweighed inflation according to the Consumer Price Index. One thing to keep in mind when considering inflation and education costs in Elida schools since 1997. There are several.

• Inventory tax: From 1997 to 2021, this revenue stream increased from $ 1,550,836 to $ 451,781 (71%). This loss of income is important to our business.

• State revenue in 2004 was $ 7,561,375, which remained at this level until 2014. All schools in the state received similar funding. The lack of inflationary income growth made planning very difficult and made it very difficult to provide adequate services to students. We are recovering from stagnant cash flow today.

• Bus Purchase Allowance: In 1997, I received $ 52,747 (the price of one bus at a time) from state revenues to purchase a new bus. This was an annual payment to the school to cover the cost of the bus. Currently, this payment is rare and the price of the bus has doubled.

• Health insurance: inflation in this area is dramatic. From $ 764,849 in 1997 to $ 2.1 million in 2021 (175% increase). Allen County schools and teachers have worked hard to keep medical costs below national inflation.

• Special Education: As a public school, we register and provide services to all registered students. Over time, the number of pupils needing special education has increased. In 1997, this cost was $ 653,163. Today that cost is $ 3,305,497, an increase of 406%.

• Transportation costs: The cost of this program increased from $ 823,551 to $ 1,063,330 between 1997 and 2020. This is a 29% increase. At the same time, the bus lines were shortened from 34 lines (1997) to 18 lines (2021).

• In 1997, diesel was available at $ 0.75 per gallon, but today it exceeds $ 2.50 per gallon (up 233%).

• Utilities: from 1997 to 2020, it went from $ 299,503 to $ 565,598. That’s an 89% increase.

• Guidance services / ORS / nurses / social workers increased from $ 389,135 to $ 1,297,757 (233%) between 1997 and 2020. These services are very important in today’s school environment.

In school affairs, a large part of the expenditure exceeds the consumer price index. Between legislative obligations and loss of inventory tax revenue, Elida, like many schools, needed to reduce the supply of courses to live in our funding window.

What’s the difference this time?

Cup / Patterson’s proposal for funding schools is unique in several ways.

• Plans are created by Republicans and Democrats working together toward a common goal.

• The plan was developed over a three-year period.

• School experts, tax policy experts and economic experts participated in the planning.

• The group worked hard to determine the base cost (the actual cost of teaching basic Ohio students).

• The group also identified the costs associated with social, emotional, safety and mental health needs.

• This plan addresses the “comprehensive and effective public school system” required by the Ohio Constitution.

• The Group has sought to develop a fair, transparent, predictable and rational plan while reducing the excessive use of property taxes.

Why did the current system break down?

• Of the 610 schools, 503 (82%) do not currently use this method (these schools use “limits” and “guarantees”).

• Elida is one of many capped districts. All of these have been bypassed by millions of dollars in state funding in recent years. This will strain daily operations and lead to more local votes in the future.

• The current method of equitable funding of schools remains too dependent on property taxes. For example, Elida has participated in 19 votes since 1997. This is unacceptable for school districts that are $ 1,387 less than the state average (per student).


In Ohio today, parents have a lot of interesting educational options. The selection of schools is alive and well.

The debate over school funding has many moving elements. It’s very complex and only a few people in the state have a full picture of all the components (including all tax effects). Some of the best experts have worked very hard to come up with this plan. The Equitable Schools Funding Plan is a big step in the right direction. It brings fairness and simplicity to this complex issue.

I urge the Senate and Senate Speaker Matt Huffman to continue discussions on funding schools, given the benefits of a fair funding plan for schools.

Joel Parker is the school treasurer in Elida.

Column Joel Parker: Mr. Huffman, continue the discussion on funding schools

Column Joel Parker: Mr. Huffman, continue the discussion on funding schools


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