COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - UPDATE 4/15/2019 3:49 P.M.
State lawmakers pushing an overhaul of Ohio's school-funding system say proposals to change how the state takes control of poor-performing districts shouldn't be part of the budget debate.
Rep. John Patterson, a Democrat from Jefferson in northeastern Ohio, says lawmakers working on the issue need more time than the budget debate allows.
Rep. Robert Cupp, a Republican from Lima, says he prefers not to see big policy changes enacted through the state budget process, but rather in their own bills.
Some lawmakers propose reversing a law that shifted operational control of poor-performing Ohio school districts to state-appointed panels and unelected CEOs instead of locally elected boards.
Other lawmakers would leave such districts under state control but prevent more so-called "state takeovers" through such commissions.
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Several school districts in Washington County are optimistic about a proposal from lawmakers to fix the state's broken school funding system.
Under the new proposal, Ohio schools would receive an additional $720 million over the next two years.
The plan has bipartisan support and the creators Representative Bob Cupp (R-Lima) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson) say it more accurately meets the financial need of each individual school district.
Belpre city schools, which passed an emergency levy last year, says this bill would eliminate the artificial caps that have held districts like them from getting the funding they need.
"There are artificial caps and guarantees," treasure Lance Erlwein explained. "A cap will artificially limit the amount of school funding that a district can receive. We're one of those districts on a cap."
"And then there are districts that artificially receive more than what the state funding formula generates. So what this plan proposes to do is eliminate that disparity between districts."
There have been multiple futile attempts to overhaul the system since the Ohio Supreme Court ruled the funding formula unconstitutional back in 1997.