This week on WHIO Reports we focus on issues in the statehouse for 2019. News Center 7's Jim Otte hosts.

Local treasurer had role in crafting the latest ‘urgent’ Ohio school funding proposal

MORE: Ohio lawmakers partner in announcing sweeping school funding proposal

Jenni Logan, treasurer of Lakota schools, joined eight other school financial officers from around the state in putting together reforms that proponents of the plan describe as “urgent” for meeting the needs of money-strapped public school systems.

“Our current funding mechanism doesn’t work for over 80 percent of our districts,” Logan said. “This new approach is a more individualized approach when looking at the district as well as the student.”

Reps. Bob Cupp, R-Lima, and John Patterson, D-Jefferson, unveiled their plan during a Columbus press conference Monday.

MORE: Lakota Schools financial officer earns Ohio treasurer of the year

More details on the plan are scheduled to be released Friday, the Ohio legislators said.

Cupp and Patterson said the plan would fund charter school and voucher school students directly, rather than having the funding pass through local school districts

“The fair school funding proposal is a bipartisan approach to solving the school funding problem that is long overdue in Ohio,” said Logan, who attended the news conference.

“This new proposal is a fair and transparent way to approach school funding by looking at what does it cost to educate a student in today’s modern world.”

Randy Bertram, treasurer for Middletown Schools, said he generally supports the proposed reforms but is reserving his full endorsement until more details are released.

“I want to know precisely how this will impact us. Our current funding model is certainly broken and an overall (change) of funding is probably the best way to fix it, however, at what cost for our district and the other districts as well?” Bertram said.

“Although this is currently just a proposal, it has been well thought out by many school funding leaders and practitioners for more than a year. It has funding components that help determine the cost of educating students and seems to be a fairer way to fund our children throughout the state.

“But because of the current system that we have, transitioning to a new funding model will be extremely difficult and possibly more expensive.”

Monroe schools officials have taken a new, public approach in lobby legislators and convincing the public of the need for reforms.

Monroe schools Superintendent Kathy Demers and Treasurer Holly Cahall, are using a short video to argue for changing the state’s “capped” state funding they contend hurts Monroe.

“We can’t assume legislators know how something is affected by the decisions they make unless we let them know,” Cahall said. “Digital media and videos are such an important and effective tool for communicating a message and have become almost necessary to reach all who need to hear.

“However, videos don’t take the place of face to face conversations. We continue to meet in person with our state representatives and they are working with us on this problem.”

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