Disparity in funding between Ohio’s poorest an wealthiest school districts has changed little in 20 years

New study shows little has changed since landmark DeRolph Supreme Court case

Staff report

New study shows little has changed since landmark DeRolph Ohio Supreme Court case

COLUMBUS — Despite 20 years of effort by the Ohio Legislature, there remains a huge different in the amount of money school districts receive per student. When inflation is considered, the different in money received by the state’s wealthiest districts and the state’s poorest district was narrowed by just 3.8 percent since 1997, when the landmark DeRolph Ohio Supreme Court was decided.

Dr. Howard Fleeter today released the results of an analysis of how Ohio’s school funding system has fared since the DeRolph decision. The Ohio School Boards Association, Buckeye Association of School Administrators Ohio Association of School Business Officials asked Fleeter — of the Ohio Education Policy Institute — to conduct the analysis.

Here are the results of that study: “Ohio’s lowest wealth school districts (FY99-FY19) received a 29.4 percent increase in state local and local revenues after adjusting for inflation. This increase is only 3.8 percentage points greater than the inflation-adjusted increase in state and local revenue received by Ohio’s wealthiest school districts (25.6 percent) over the same time period.

Fleeter found a limited amount of funding progress over the 20-year period, with much of the growth in state funding occurring in the first 10 years. Seventy-five percent of the increase in combined state and local revenues occurred from fiscal year 1999 to fiscal year 2009 for all five wealth quintiles (the analysis looks at funding increases by wealth quintiles on a per-pupil basis).

While per-pupil state and local revenues increased for all quintiles once adjusted for inflation, the increase for the lowest-wealth districts ($1,775 per pupil) was only $107 more than was the increase for the highest wealth districts ($1,668 per pupil). Fleeter’s report concluded this is an indication the funding gap between low-wealth and high-wealth districts has not been narrowed appreciably since the DeRolph decision.

This report, combined with reports previously issued by Fleeter and the Ohio Education Policy Institute, show significant educational disparities among districts.

The education organizations requesting the analysis said the report will provide credible data for legislators and the education community during the upcoming state budget deliberations.

New study shows little has changed since landmark DeRolph Supreme Court case

Staff report