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Ohio lawmakers hear from local school leaders

Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 6:34 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ohio- (WTAP) - On May 6, Ohio lawmakers heard from Belpre Schools Superintendent Jeff Greenley, in support of a change in the school funding system.

A bill under consideration, the Fair Funding bill, would, in part, shift some funding emphasis in the state from property to income taxes.

“it is very much in our interest to speak out and help the legislature understand that our community cannot continue to take the levies locally, to help the state of Ohio supplant what the state of Ohio has not been giving us for the last 20 years,” Greenley said Friday, “and what we believfe would be equitable funding.”

In late April, Fort Frye Superintendent Stephanie Starcher spoke before a legislative committee about changes in the way Ohio rates its schools.

A House bill seeks to move away from a letter grade, report card style, grading system, to one providing a more detailed ranking of school system performance.

“For us to say you can measure that by a set of state tests that are taken on a single day in the school year,” Starcher says, “in one single letter grade, is just not fair, it’s not equitable, and it’s very punitive.”

Starcher, who, for years has called for changes in the report card system, notes the pandemic has shown the role of school systems involves more than education.

Ohio’s school funding system has been a source of debate for decades. A state supreme court ruling mandating changes was issued nearly 25 years ago.

And Greenley says, in spite of public perception, it’s not just about rural schools.

“There were representatives from small, rural, urban (schools) from across the state, that were all united in saying, ‘it’s tine for a change’.”

But in both instances, lawmakers were hearing the voice of school administrators, with the local area leading the way.

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