Quality Education - A Top Priority For Ohio
By State Senator Scott Oelslager
October 28, 2013
 
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One of my top priorities as a state lawmaker is to support and improve Ohio’s education policies. This year, more than 40 percent of the state’s budget is dedicated solely to supporting the educational goals and needs for children preschool through high school.

In Ohio, we know how quality schools can positively contribute to the health of our families, communities, and ultimately, our economy. As the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, I worked hard to make certain that education remained a top priority in House Bill 59 – the state’s operating budget.  The state’s biennial budget will provide more than $9.2 billion for education during the current school year alone.  This is a 7 percent increase in state funding from last school year. That number will grow to $9.8 billion in the following year.
 
While money alone cannot improve student achievement, it is critically important that the necessary resources are provided to support high quality learning opportunities to prepare our students for the future.  Every student deserves the opportunity and tools to succeed, regardless their circumstances.  With school now in full swing, I want to share information about a few of the new reforms enacted, as well as some online resources that might be helpful to you.

  • The new “Achievement Everywhere” funding formula prioritizes individual student learning needs and distributes state aid based on the ability of a student’s community to support its schools. The level of state aid is determined using a new state share index that considers the value of property in a district adjusted by the incomes of people who live in the community.  This results in the state paying 90% of the share for students living in Ohio’s lowest wealth district to a minimum 5% share for students who reside in Ohio’s highest wealth areas. This new formula represents the largest legislative investment in public education in more than ten years. More information about this education funding formula is available on the nonpartisan Legislative Service Commission website by clicking on “Green Books” and then clicking on Department of Education at this link: http://www.lsc.state.oh.us/budget/mainbudget.htm

     

  • The new “Straight-A Fund” is one of Governor Kasich’s new key initiatives to drive more dollars directly into the classroom by awarding grants to schools to support efficiency programs in operations and help modernize learning to improve student achievement.  More than $250 million is available for schools over the next two years. More information about the program can be found by going to www.Education.Ohio.gov and clicking “Straight-A Fund.”

     

  • Investing in Early Learning Initiatives - All research tells us that brain development in the early years of a child’s life is critical to future success.  More than $78 million was included in the education budget to support early childhood education programs.  We also significantly increased the state’s commitment to funding preschool special education services.  In the 2012-13 school year $84.5 million was available. That funding will increase to $103 million this school year and $104 million for the following year. http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Early-Learning

We are working hard in the Statehouse to ensure Ohio children are leading the pack in education. While I encourage you to visit the websites above, please do not hesitate to contact me by calling (614) 466-0626, emailing Oelslager@OhioSenate.gov, or by writing me at 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, Ohio 43215.

 
 
 
  
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