Thursday, June 22, 2000

Report: Ohio 20th in per-pupil spending

By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The U.S. Census Bureau on Wednesday reported that Ohio ranked 20th nationally in per-pupil spending for the 1996-97 school year and received more than half of its education funds from local sources, adding another wrinkle to the state's school funding fight.

        “If anything, the reliance on local sources such as property taxes has gone up since then,” said Bill Phillis, executive director for the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding, which has sued the state over its school funding system. “This just reaffirms what we've been saying all along.”

        The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in May that the state funding system is unconstitutional because it relies too much on local property taxes. The court gave state officials a year to remedy the problem.

  Per-pupil spending and revenue sources for the school year 1996-97 (national rank in parentheses):
  • Per-pupil spending: $5,897 (20).
  • Per-pupil revenue from local sources: $3,632 (14).
  • Per-pupil revenue from state sources: $2,778 (31).
  • Per-pupil spending for 1998-1999 school year: $6,642 (51 percent from local, 43 percent from state).
  • Per pupil spending: $4,515 (46).
  • Per pupil revenue from local sources: $1,704 (44).
  • Per pupil revenue from state sources: $3,630 (14).
  • Per pupil spending for 1999-2000 school year: $5,895 (breakdown of local/state sources not available)
  • Per pupil spending: $6,019 (18).
  • Per pupil revenue from local sources: $3,666 (13).
  • Per pupil revenue from state sources: $3,849 (12).
  • Per pupil spending for 1999-2000 school year: $5,089 (breakdown of local/state sources not available).
        According to the census report, Ohio spent $5,897 per pupil. When it came to education revenue, $3,632 came from local sources and $2,778 came from state sources. (The amount in excess of per-pupil expenditures generally goes toward administrative educational costs at both the state and local level.)

        Spokespeople for the state education department and for Gov. Bob Taft stressed that the report relied on 3-year-old data, and that the funding ratio has changed. The Ohio per-pupil spending figure for the 1998-99 school year was $6,642, with 51 percent coming from local sources.

        “These figures in this report are for a time before our reforms went into place,” said Scott Milburn, Mr. Taft's spokesman. “We've put a lot of things into place, and we've gotten credit from the court for some of them. And we realize that we still have a lot of work to do.”

        Education officials and state legislators will meet over the summer to come up with ideas, and Mr. Taft will tour the state to solicit solutions. Mr. Taft has all but ruled out a tax hike to increase education spending.

        The report ranked Indiana 18th ($6,019) and Kentucky 46th ($4,515) for overall per-pupil spending for the 1996-97 school year.

        This past school year, however, Indiana spent $5,089 and Kentucky was at $5,895 — an increase credited to the full implementation of school reform undertaken 10 years ago and a figure that would rank Kentucky in the middle of national rankings.

        New Jersey was first for 1996-97 at $9,461 per student and Utah was last at $3,810.


Council to OK Nordstrom
PULFER: Clean out your desk, Mr. Shirey
UC approves garage plans
Ohio, Kentucky can't cut gasoline sales tax
Passers-by help nab suspect in rape attack
Driver gets top penalty for death
Man arrested in clerk's beating
New parks chief named
Piketon reels from news of plant closure
Uranium plant shutting down
Mason's water source still low
SAMPLES: Race fans give columnist an earful
- Report: Ohio 20th in per-pupil spending
KNIPPENBERG: Kaplans mark 50th amid 400 friends
French Park offers a wooded wonderland
KIESEWETTER: WCPO seeks HDTV e-mail addresses
Pig Parade: Monte(sow)ri Pig in a (Peace) Blanket
'Salome' draws out soprano's stamina
Who should be cast away?
Cops to add substation
Council to pitch a tent
Court weighs in on harassment
Erlanger library plans to almost double in size
For local sources, go to the ultimate source: Richardson
Fort Wright appoints fire chief
Kentucky Digest
Local Digest
Lot size an issue in home plan
Man killed, officer hurt in shootout
Man pleads guilty in slaying, attempted rape
Neighbors build garden
Pension hike gets political
Plan to restrict water use in droughts OK'd
Queen City's moments to shine reflected in book
Residency proposal debated
Runner's efforts give girl funeral
Students choose old school
Teller charged in county theft
Theater finds friend - again - in restorer
Young ones also get letter grades