As a former school board president, I became quite familiar with many of the problems that Ohio’s public schools are facing. Now that I am a state representative, I have been using my background in education to make sure that we can take action to better our schools and pass the legislation that is so badly needed for children in Ohio to reach their full potential.

Without a doubt, the issue that is causing the most strife within our schools is problems with how they are funded. Ohio has too long relied on an unconstitutional funding mechanism, based on property taxes, and it’s time that we do something about it.

I was happy to announce not long ago that the House of Representatives was going to begin looking more in-depth at how our schools are funded, the problems that arise from that, and what can be done to correct it. To gain a better understanding of school funding, the House is going to be holding many hearings so that residents, educators, and other interested parties can make their voices heard on the issue.

The hearings are going to be held around the state during the summer. In the meantime, they have kicked off in Columbus, with the House Finance and Appropriations Committee already hearing from former State Budget Director and Associate Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria.

To gain a basic understanding of school funding, the committee has had an overview of important statistics, discussed school district expenditures, gone over the Foundation Formula Theory, looked back at how our state got to where we are now, delved into local revenues, and focused its attention on the many challenges that will need to be addressed as we move forward.

These particular committee meetings are only in the first phase in what will surely be a long process. Although it will take much time and effort, these hearings are extremely important in order to understand what road we should take in the future. Additionally, a website is in the works so that Ohioans can view the School Funding Basic Information Series online.

Education is the foundation of a functioning economy. From classes to clubs, to sports and fine arts, these opportunities for students prepare them for a life of success, where they are contributing members of our society. Many of the debates we have in these particular areas stem from whether there is enough money to support them.

I’m extremely proud that the Ohio House is taking the initiative to look into school funding. As we move forward with this process, I will be contributing what I can to the debate. It’s my hope that all those who have an interest in our funding process will be able to reach a consensus in the future for the betterment of Ohio students.


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