Wednesday, May 06, 2009

School Funding 101

OK, I am NOT going to go into the crazy, convoluted, insane state that is current school funding in Ohio. Not gonna do it. 
However, I am going to give you one basic distinction:

**LEVIES are passed by local communities. 
**The STATE can allocate certain amounts of General Revenue Funding (GRF) to schools. Right now, schools and medicaid make up about 70% of Ohio's budget.
**THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT (aka Congress) can also allocate money for funding. 

Here's the thing--when you get it from the state, or the feds, it is much, much more likely to have strings attached. I.e, here is federal govt. money, but it can only be spent on reading/math/ gifted/early childhood/whatever education. 

Furthermore, as we are discovering--it is really, really hard to get "equitable" school funding without screwing one or more districts. You're either being Robin Hood, or Robin Hood in Reverse. 

So--if you want money for music, etc.--you need to work for local/state levies to get that funding. The local level is the best. 

Oh, and note to those who have "I want the military to have bake sales to buy bombers" bumper stickers--appropriations at the federal level are not subject to balance budget statutes (like they are in Ohio, for example).  But yes, generally, the DOD (Department of Defense) gets more money than the Department of Education. It helps that the preamble to the Constitution specifically states that "provid[ing] for the common defense" was (is) part of establishing the country in the beginning.
Do not blame the feds when people in your district vote down levies. 
If you would like more money for education, then be prepared to say where other areas should be cut. Roads? Health care? Human services? You pick. 

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