How many bills that have made their way through the Ohio General Assembly over the last five years do you remember? I like sugar cookies and love Labrador retrievers and don’t mind the idea of having them as Ohio’s state cookie and dog, respectively, but these pieces of legislation, while fun, are not likely to have a long-term impact on the lives of Ohioans. This session, however, the General Assembly has the chance to make history. The education proposals currently being considered at the Ohio Statehouse, if enacted, will have a tremendous, long-lasting, positive impact on children and families across Ohio, particularly in Delaware County.
As the former education policy advisor for the Ohio House Republican Caucus, I was proud to be involved in the development and unveiling of the fair school funding formula which will bring millions of additional state dollars to Delaware County schools when fully implemented. I commend Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens on making the continued phase-in of the fair funding formula one of his chamber’s top legislative priorities. Delaware County schools have long received far less than their fair share of the state’s education dollars while continuing to provide world-class education to the county’s children. As a parent, I am excited to see what our already successful schools can accomplish when fairly funded.
I am not originally from Delaware County; this is my chosen home. When my wife and I became parents, we sought out the community that could provide the life we wanted for our children, quality education being a major factor, and Delaware County was the obvious option. While I am grateful we were able to make that choice, I also recognize that many families do not have the same opportunity. What’s more, even though Delaware County’s public school districts are nationally recognized, the fact remains that public schooling is not the preferred option for every family. This is why proposals like the Backpack Scholarship program, another piece of priority legislation in the Ohio House, are so critically important. Every family, regardless of their resources, should be able to pursue the best educational option for their specific circumstances whether that be in a public, private, or home school setting. I am proud that our local representatives, Beth Lear (R-Galena) and the late Kris Jordan (R-Ostrander), co-sponsored H.B. 11 which provides much needed flexibility to Delaware County families. Sen. Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware) deserves praise, too, for his complementary advocacy in the Ohio Senate to expand education choice options.
This proposed combination of fairly funded public schools and state funding that makes private or home schooling an attainable option regardless of resources is a win-win for Delaware County. Every child in the county will have meaningful access to a high-quality education in alignment with their family’s values. It is an exciting time to be a parent in Ohio, and I urge the General Assembly to claim their place in history by instituting these common-sense reforms.