Brenner to fight for school-funding floor


State Rep. Andrew Brenner, R-Powell, says he plans once again to introduce legislation to set a school funding floor.

The legislation would ensure that no public school district receives less state funding per student than chartered non-public schools.

About 28 wealthy school districts would receive a funding increase under the plan, including the Olentangy Local School District.

“All we are saying is we need at least a floor, especially for the districts that are growing like Olentangy,” Brenner said.

Under the recently passed state budget, Olentangy will receive $607 per student in 2017. Non-public auxiliary schools will receive just more than $1,100 per student.

The version of the budget passed by both chambers of the legislature included additional state funding for wealthy school districts, but the provision was vetoed by Gov. John Kasich.

“By carving out a special payment to some of the richest districts in the state – at a time when other districts are seeing funding withheld due to legally imposed ‘caps’ on their funding growth – a guarantee minimum per-pupil payment is not the best use of state resources,” Kasich said in his veto message.

But Julie Wagner-Feasel, a member of the Olentangy district’s board of education, said Olentangy officials are not seeking any special treatment.

“It’s always been an issue of fairness,” she said. “We have never once asked for any money to be taken away from any other school districts.”

The additional funding could ease the burden on the district’s taxpayers, Wagner-Feasel said.

“Any additional years we can get out of that operating levy would be huge relief to our taxpayers,” she said.

Brenner said the challenge will be convincing Kasich and his administration that the added funding is not a “carve out,” but rather an issue of fairness.

“I need to sit down with them and explain that this is a funding floor,” he said.

If he can convince the administration, Brenner said he believes the bill has a good chance to become law.

“My hope would be to have this in place for maybe the next school year,” he said.


By Dustin Ensinger

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Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.

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