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RESOLUTION TEMPLATE for HB 1- The Fair School Funding Plan

April 7, 2021

The Wilmington school board has endorsed Ohio House Bill (HB) 1 — also known as the Fair School Funding Plan.

In making the endorsement, board members passed a resolution stating Ohio’s current school funding system “lacks a rational basis for determining both the cost of educating students, and how the funding of education is shared between the state and local taxpayers.”

Ask your local school board if it has passed a resolution supporting HB 1- the Cupp-Patterson Fair School Funding Plan. If the BOE hasn’t done so, please share this easy-to-copy-and-paste text based on the Wilmington City School District’s statement:

A RESOLUTION TO ENDORSE THE FAIR SCHOOL FUNDING PLAN, AS CONTAINED IN HOUSE BILL 1, AND TO ENCOURAGE THE 134TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO EXPEDITE ITS PASSAGE

WHEREAS, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in DeRolph v. State of Ohio (1997) that Ohio’s method for funding schools through the state’s school foundation program was unconstitutional under Article VI, Section 2 of the Ohio Constitution; and

WHEREAS, in DeRolph, the Ohio Supreme Court declared that Ohio’s school funding system was over-reliant on local property taxes, and as such, was inherently discriminatory to children based on where they reside for disparities exist between communities of affluence and impoverishment; and

WHEREAS, since the DeRolph decision, the Ohio General Assembly has failed to create a funding system that meets Ohio’s constitutional standard of securing “… a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the state”; and

WHEREAS, Ohio’s solution to satisfy the Ohio Supreme Court’s order has been to pass a series of biennial budgets containing politically expedient remedies that have not eliminated the over-reliance on local property tax or mitigated the discriminatory nature inherent in the series of “funding fixes” legislated over the last 23 years; and

WHEREAS, Ohio’s previous biennial budget crafted by the 132nd Ohio General Assembly, and effective July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019, created a funding system with “capped” districts, and districts receiving a minimum level of funding referred to as the “guarantee”; and

WHEREAS, the previous biennial budget identified 503 school districts out of 610, or 82%, either “capped” in their funding, or on the “guarantee,” which is a testament that Ohio’s funding model is not effective; and

WHEREAS, Ohio’s current biennial budget crafted by the 133rd General Assembly, froze foundation funding for Ohio schools at 2019 fiscal year levels (effectively placing all districts on “the guarantee”), which funding levels have subsequently been cut due to the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic; and

WHEREAS, the current school funding system in Ohio lacks a rational basis for determining both the cost of educating students and how the funding of education is shared between the state and local taxpayers; and

WHEREAS, Representative Robert Cupp (R) and Representative John Patterson (D) convened a statewide workgroup, made up of eight practicing school district CFO/Treasurers and eight practicing Superintendents (the “Cupp-Patterson Workgroup”), to devise a new formula, and recognizing that Ohio needs an overhaul to its school funding system, have spent the last three years determining the inputs necessary to fund a “thorough and efficient system of common schools” that reduces the over-reliance on local property tax and creates equity in the state foundation system; and

WHEREAS, the Cupp-Patterson Workgroup carefully analyzed national research, best practices, actual Ohio school district spending data, and drew on their own extensive experience in educating students and operating school districts to make recommendations for a school funding system that meets the needs of all Ohio’s students in the 21st century; and

WHEREAS, the Cupp-Patterson Workgroup developed recommendations that laid out a rational, transparent, comprehensive and – most of all – fair system for funding schools based on the actual cost of providing a basic education for all students in Ohio (the “Base Cost”); and

WHEREAS, the Cupp-Patterson Workgroup developed a method of sharing the funding of the Base Cost between the state and local taxpayers that is easy to understand and based on a fair, defensible measure of the capacity to generate funds locally; and

WHEREAS, the Cupp-Patterson Workgroup identified and provided a framework for providing additional resources to meet needs beyond those of basic education, including the areas of the social, emotional, safety, and mental health of students, the additional challenges driven by students living in poverty, with special needs, with limited English proficiency, and who are academically gifted; and

WHEREAS, the Cupp-Patterson Workgroup developed recommendations for properly funding Career Technology Centers, Educational Service Centers, and Charter and Community schools; and

WHEREAS, based on the research and work outlined above, the Cupp-Patterson Workgroup produced and recommended the Fair School Funding Plan, which was introduced in House Bill 1; and

WHEREAS, the Ohio General Assembly and the Governor of Ohio have an opportunity to devise a funding formula, as outlined in the Fair School Funding Plan, that is an investment in Ohio’s children and Ohio’s future.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Education of_________________________ that:

It is necessary to formally endorse the Fair School Funding Plan, as introduced in House Bill 1 of the 134th General Assembly, to ensure that K-12 schools in Ohio are funded using a rational school funding system that meets the needs of all Ohio’s students in the 21st century. The school district treasurer should be authorized to deliver or cause to be delivered a certified copy of this Resolution to community leaders; to members of the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate, including Reps. Jamie Callender and Bride Rose Sweeney; and to the office of Governor Michael DeWine.

Passing a resolution is important in educating citizens about the Fair School Funding plan, communicating the values of the community, and showing solidarity with the hundreds of other school districts that also expect this funding plan to pass. It also serves as a formal demand for Ohio legislators to get busy and pass HB 1, a rational, transparent, comprehensive and fair system for funding schools based on the actual cost of providing a basic education for all students in Ohio.

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Voices

Dawn’s Story

I am a public school teacher in Oberlin, Ohio. As I do year after year, I had my fifth-graders write editorials for the Newspaper in Education contest sponsored by our local Chronicle-Telegram newspaper. And as I always do, I gave the students free choice to choose their topics and to come up with their own polished submissions.

When so many of them started writing about testing, I freaked out a little because prior to this month’s AIR testing, I had rarely even mentioned the topic to them, refusing to stress them out about the upcoming three weeks of testing. I sent some of their work to our principal with a note that said, in so many words, “Holy smokes, look at what these kids are saying. I promise that I haven’t been stressing them out about these tests!” She wrote back saying she thought their submissions sounded just fine.

I’m so thankful to have a principal who values our students’ feelings.

When I talked to the kids about the testing, I told them how surprised I was by their topic choices and asked why they were feeling so worried. After all, I told them, I had barely mentioned the topic and told them I’d be the last person to put pressure on them or try to stress them out. One student told me, “You are working with the wrong kids, Mrs. Randall. You don’t have to stress us out. We stress ourselves out enough for all of us.”

They then started sharing stories about last year’s PARCC test, when they tested on and off from February through May when they were in 4th-grade. They shared about how scared they were that they wouldn’t pass the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee reading test the year before that and then fail the entire year. Ohio legislation is insane.

But worst of all, one student said, “This is the third new kind of test we’ve had in three years. When will Ohio get this right?”

This same student was the one who took it upon himself to go to the Ohio Department of Education website on his Chromebook and research his topic and find out that some schools were able to still do paper/pencil tests, and he was pretty upset that he couldn’t.

I sent a note to the newspaper staff member about all their submissions and she told me to please not censor their writing, but to send it all in. She wanted to see it all.

Today, I opened the newspaper supplement to these two student submissions ruling a whole spread. Apparently, the judges heard them loud and clear and felt their words needed to be heard by our community.

All this high-stakes testing is really starting to take a toll on kids. When will our legislature hear and care about their voices?

Each child in my class is the SAME child who has been forced to sit through high-stakes testing year after year after year. When will enough be enough?

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