Thursday, December 07, 2000

Hike in school spending proposed

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — The state would add from $600 million to $800 million a year to the education budget to respond to a court order to fix Ohio's school-funding system, according to a proposal from a legislative committee.

        The committee — one of two House-Senate committees studying the state's school-funding formula — on Tuesday recommended increases in spending on schoolchildren, including:

        • Raising the minimum spent per pupil by about $120 next year.

        • Giving districts more money for transportation and special and vocational education.

        • Providing funding for an extra high school graduation requirement that lawmakers previously approved but didn't fund.

        The six-member committee has been studying a formula developed by consultant John Augenblick to determine minimum per-pupil spending.

        The committee plans a final report before year's end. Incoming lawmakers could adopt some, all or none of the recommendations.

        The Ohio Supreme Court in May ruled the current school- funding system is unconstitutional.

        The state's main response to the court is expected in Gov. Bob Taft's 2002-2003 budget, to be released in late January.

        Under current law, the minimum that the state and districts must spend on children in the 2001-2002 school year is $4,294. The committee proposed increasing that to $4,414.

        “We actually are making recommendations for a comprehensive and pretty far-reaching response,” said committee member Rep. Jeff Jacobson, a Republican from Phillipsburg.


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