Today, the Ohio Senate and House, each with broad bipartisan support, approved the report of the budget conference committee and sent HB 110 (the biennium state budget) to Governor DeWine for his approval. In key education changes, the legislature adopted the House’s school funding framework, while also approving many of the initiatives championed by the Senate that improve Ohio’s parental choice programs.
“K-12 education has rightly been a focal point in this year’s state budget debate. Both chambers should be commended for crafting policies that will greatly strengthen education in this state,” said Chad L. Aldis, Vice President for Ohio Policy at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. “Getting a school funding formula in place is critical to driving state dollars to schools that need them, and the House’s school funding plan moves Ohio back to a formula driven system that ties funding to student attendance.”
The approved budget also shifted to a direct funding model, supported by both chambers, which will fund all choice programs directly with state dollars rather than through a system of district deductions. It’s anticipated that this shift will help to ease tensions between districts, charter schools, and private schools. In other school choice-related changes the budget continues funding for the quality charter school program, raises scholarship amounts in the state’s private school choice programs, creates educational savings accounts to help parents secure high quality afterschool and enrichment activities, and for the first time allows charter schools to open in any district in the state.
“The legislature soundly rejected the false choice that Ohio needs to choose between supporting public education and empowering families with educational options,” Aldis added. “This budget proves that policy makers can properly fund public schools and schools of choice, and it’s Ohio families who will benefit.”