Ohio’s Biennial Budget Results in Missed Opportunities for Students and Communities

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July 18, 2019
Contact: Neil Bhaerman, Communications Director for Ohio Federation of Teachers
               (412)266-4899; nbhaerman@oft-aft.org

Ohio’s Biennial Budget Results in Missed Opportunities for Students and Communities

OFT President Melissa Cropper released the following statement on Ohio’s biennial operating budget, HB 166, that was signed by Governor DeWine today:

The budget that was signed today is marked by missed opportunities to fix our broken and unconstitutional school funding formula, to close reckless tax loopholes, and to end school takeovers that disenfranchise local communities.

Our members have been calling for increased funding for wraparound services in our public schools for years, and we appreciate that Governor DeWine and the legislature made that a priority in this year’s budget with $675 million in additional spending. However, our school districts still need a fair and equitable formula that allows them to know what their funding levels will be so they can make the investments needed in their districts. We look forward to the continuing work that Representatives Cupp and Patterson are doing to fund our future with a new school funding formula.

In addition to not addressing the fundamentals of school funding, the legislature left major sources of revenue on the table, including failing to close the LLC tax loophole that has been costing Ohio approximately $1 billion every year.

This budget props up private schools and charter schools, at the expense of our traditional K-12 public schools, with policy changes that should have been addressed through the normal legislative process, rather than being slapped on to the budget. First, school funding will be harmed, disproportionately in certain districts, due to a rapid expansion of income EdChoice vouchers – a policy change that had failed to even pass out of committee in the previous General Assembly. Second, state oversight of charters has been weakened, despite the charter industry’s history of failure and deception in Ohio.

We’re also disappointed that the legislature punted on the critical issue of school takeovers with a moratorium until October 2020. The Senate should resolve this by taking up HB 154 to end Academic Distress Commissions and return control to locally elected school boards, which was passed by an overwhelming bi-partisan vote in the House.

We do thank Governor DeWine for listening to educators and vetoing a policy change that would weaken requirements on teacher licensing, allowing teachers and paraprofessionals to teach in subject areas they are not licensed in. This veto was a direct response to activism from OFT members and other educators and parents. We also appreciate additional funding in the budget for higher education through the Ohio College Opportunity Grant program and other initiatives, and additional funding for family and children’s services.


The Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) is comprised of more than 50 local unions representing 20,000 members who are active and retired public school teachers, charter school teachers, school support staff, higher education faculty and staff, and public employees. OFT works to advance quality education and services that impact children, and a voice in the workplace for Ohio’s education professionals. OFT is affiliated with the 1.7 member American Federation of Teachers.