Specifics, and soon, on school funding fix

It's long past time for specifics as to how Ohio's system of funding public schools will be fixed. In the dozen years since a
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

It's long past time for specifics as to how Ohio's system of funding public schools will be fixed.

In the dozen years since a judge in Perry County ruled the funding system, which resulted in schools being funded based on the value of property in their respective districts, did not meet the requirement of the state constitution that all Ohio students receive an equitable education, absolutely no progress has been made.

None. Zero. Nada.

The junior high school student in whose name the lawsuit that led to the ruling was filed is now a family man and businessman in Columbus, and we haven't even agreed on a basic approach.

Certainly, ideas have been proposed -- and just as rapidly shot down. Folks still continue to float ideas, and the main thing they seem to have in common is that those who don't agree are criminally stupid for not seeing the brilliance of whatever's on the table. It got to the point where the group that is the noisiest in its call for reform, once proposed cutting off all school funding just to make a point -- at which point this editorial board wondered if anyone in the state was actually serious about fixing school funding, or whether the argument, as so many others have done, had by then become self-sustaining, its whole reason for existence forgotten.

Enter Ted Strickland.

The man who will be governor made the need for a funding fix a central point of his campaign. Whether that was the reason or there was some other, voters told Ted he had the job.

He hasn't been overly specific, and to be sure any mention of detail before its time will invite its share of sniping, but we need to know where we're going.

Given the challenges of reorienting Ohio's economy away from the heavy manufacturing that was for so long a mainstay -- and the need to train and educate students to participate in the high-tech economy Ohio wants to attract -- it's clear schools need more resources, and to have those resources distributed equitably. More resources means more money, and more money means taxes -- and that's why there's been no progress in 12 years.

But it's going to take some political courage -- the kind that's been lacking for some time at Broad and High streets in Columbus -- to address in detail what needs to be done.

Among the many interpretations of the Nov. 7 vote was that it was a cry for change, an impatience with the limping status quo. Perhaps that will lend some semblance of courage -- both to say in detail what needs to be done, and to do it.