COLUMBUS --Ohio's governor is proposing a school-funding overhaul he says will help poor districts compete more evenly while introducing changes to promote innovation and performance.
The plan unveiled by Republican John Kasich Thursday is focused on giving all students the resources to succeed. Kasich's funding plan would boost districts that are lagging in property values and household incomes.
Kasich education advisers say no schools will see reduced funding next year under the current formula, and overall funding will rise. A special fund would be created to reward districts for efficiency and advances.
The plan also offers help for extra costs of special-needs students, and to provide more school choice.
The long-awaited plan is expected to kick off months of debate over Ohio's education direction.
In aballroom full of superintendents, Gov. John Kasich says there is no room for politics in the decision process over Ohio education and kids must be put first.
Highlights of the governor's plan are thatschools will be given the same amount of money to operate, with the state kicking in more to help the poorer districts.
The state will give more to cover costs of students with disabilities, and those destined for the gifted program so they're given the chance to grow their education.
The cost for 2014 is $7.4 billion, an increase of $465 million. The governor says the state has it.
Kasich's plan contains a host of policy reforms including his attempt at resolving constitutional issues with the existing school-funding formula that assigns district-by-district subsidies.
Kasich presented enhanced parental control, funding that follows the poorest children when they choose a different education option and monetary rewards for teachers whose students show measurable improvement.
Eric Gordon, CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, said ""It's too early to tell what the details mean for Cleveland, but at first glance, there are several strong indications the State is addressing long-standing problems with school funding in Ohio."
"There's an effort here to treat people in a fair and equitable manner. It appears to be a thoughtful process and an attempt to address tax issues without simply taking from rich districts to give money to poorer ones."
Terry Ryan, Vice-President for Ohio Programs and Policy at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, said "Governor Kasich's budget plan for K-12 education is exciting and indeed long overdue. Especially important are education dollars following students, support for innovation, more and smarter (and more quality-conscious) school choices, and greater flexibility for districts and schools."
"The Governor's plan, as crafted, looks to empower the professionals closest to kids - teachers and building level administrators - to make decisions that are in their students' best interests academically, while also expanding the power of parents to decide what type of school works best for their children. The Governor's plan moves Ohio's schools, families and students away from the idea of education being a one-size-fits-all enterprise to something closer to customized schooling for every child."
Statehouse Democrats on Wednesday asked for a voice in the process that the governor has kept unusually quiet.