Saturday, February 27, 1999

Chronology of Ohio school funding

        • 1976 — Ohio lawmakers adopt a new funding formula designed to guarantee each child a basic level of education.

        • 1979 — In a case brought by the Cincinnati Public Schools, the Ohio Supreme Court rules the state's school-funding system is constitutional. It finds education is not a fundamental right under the state constitution.

        • 1982 — The legislature changes the funding formula. The new system is designed to guarantee local revenue, and state aid will provide a defined amount per pupil.

        • January 1991 — Cleveland Public Schools files a class-action lawsuit challenging the school-funding system. Members of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy, composed of school districts, requests it be removed from this lawsuit, a process that will take 21/2 years before it succeeds.

        • May 1991 — The coalition sues on behalf of Keeley Thomson, the Southern Local School District and others in Perry County Common Pleas Court. The lawsuit against the state contests the funding system's constitutionality.

        • July 1991 — The state successfully petitions that the case be moved to federal court. In 1995, the coalition drops the lawsuit.

        • December 1991 — A second complaint is filed by the coalition in Perry County on behalf of Dale R. DeRolph, Northern Local School District and others.

        • July 7, 1994 — Judge Linton D. Lewis Jr. of Perry County Common Pleas Court rules the state constitution requires that Ohio do more than provide “a thorough and efficient system of education.” It also must provide sufficient money for all districts to meet that goal. The state announces that same day it will appeal.

        • Aug. 30, 1995 — In a 2-1 ruling, the Ohio 5th District Court of Appeals in Canton overrules Judge Lewis' decision. The state's school-funding plan is constitutional unless the state Supreme Court decides otherwise, the judges said.

        • March 24, 1997 — The Supreme Court votes, 4-3, to hold the funding system unconstitutional. This gives the state a year to come up with a new plan. The case is returned to Judge Lewis.

        • May 5, 1998 — Ohio voters reject a one-cent sales-tax increase to generate $1.1 billion a year, half for schools and half for property-tax relief. The tax increase was the state's answer to the Supreme Court ruling.

        • Aug. 23, 1998 — Judge Lewis opens two weeks of hearings on whether the state has met the court's criteria.

        • Friday — — Judge Lewis rules that the school-funding system remains unconstitutional.

Ohio fails school-funding test
- Chronology of Ohio school funding
Levies aren't the answer, educators say
What the state did, didn't do

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