Marion City Schools Superintendent Ron Iarussi believes the future of education in Ohio is moving in the right direction due to the recent overhaul of the public school funding plan.
Last month, state lawmakers passed the equitable school funding plan that was included in the state budget, which will be in place for the next two fiscal years.
According to the dispatch from Christopher Columbus, the plan changes the way schools receive money from the state. For example, the state will look at both local revenues and land values to determine how much a district should be able to cover on its own. And their base amount (the cost to educate the average student) will be based on local costs instead of a single statewide average.
The Ohio House of Representatives Fair School Funding Plan called for a six-year phased-in of an additional $ 2 billion for education. However, since the budget is two years at a time, the legislator chose to guarantee only the first two years of the six-year plan. This means, so far, only an additional $ 700 million in funding for education.
Iarussi pays tribute to Senator Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) and Representative Tracy Richardson (R-Marysville) for championing the plan and willing to listen to area school districts.
“These people really deserve credit for taking this bold step to fix a system that has been down for so long,” he said.
Schools should see their funding increase
According to the Akron Beacon-Journal, the funding formula is based on three parts: a base cost, a national and local part, and categories of students in need.
A base cost is what it takes to educate a student in that district, with more weight given to districts with a higher number of younger students, as lower teacher-to-student ratios in these classes make them more expensive.
The formula then takes into account the real wealth of this community and its ability to contribute, depending on income and land wealth. A richer neighborhood would be responsible for a higher share of the costs.
The last factor is the number of students who have increased needs because they are, for example, economically disadvantaged or learning English. Districts with a larger population of these students will see increased assistance.
According to a report on theFair School Funding Plan website, MCS could receive $ 43.3 million in total formula assistance for fiscal year 2021.
However, Iarussi is waiting to see the state’s final numbers, as the estimates are usually not what the district ultimately receives. He said MCS has yet to receive any payments and that the administration has only attended a brief webinar on the changes that will be applied to school funding.
“I’m not yet standing on a table when it comes to how much money we will or will not receive because I still think there are a lot of details to be defined,” said Iarussi. “And so, I’m not sure that all of the projections out there will lead to increases or decreases until we have all these little details figured out.
“There are still quite a few questions about the financial impact.”
The superintendent said the funds MCS will receive will go towards staffing, literacy and math programs, technology and updating textbooks.
“These are the things we really look forward to, being able to plan and make sure we have all the appropriate resources in place that we need, whether it’s human resources, curriculum or professional development. “said Iarussi. “These are all resources that will hopefully end up being used in the classroom. “
Meanwhile, Elgin Superintendent Lane Warner said the new plan would be of overall benefit to schools.
“I’m sure there will be a need to tweak things in the years to come,” he said.
“I really think it’s a step in the right direction to precisely define and fund what it takes to educate the child and base part of it on the demographics of the state area school district.”
Estimates show Elgin will receive $ 6.8 million for the fiscal year.
Warner said plans for the funds include proof of social and emotional resources for the ongoing operational costs of students.
For local schools in Ridgedale, the district could receive assistance of $ 4.2 million.
But like Iarussi, Superintendent Robert Britton is reluctant to say that will be the exact amount the district will receive.
“If it is fully funded, we will see an increase of about 43% in the state’s share,” he said.
The money will go towards general operational costs, Britton said. In addition, the administration plans to continue to provide social and emotional resources and to have a creative space for students to collaborate on projects.
“It will help us tremendously,” said Britton.
Representatives from River Valley and Pleasant Local Schools could not be reached in time for the publication.
Reporters Megan Henry and Jennifer Pignolet contributed to this report.