June 10, 2024

Stephen Dyer: It’s Official: Ohio Leaders Hosing Public School Kids Today Worse Than Ever

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Award-winning journalist Stephen Dyer has some alarming news about the current state of Ohio’s support for public education.

This is stunning, stunning data. But the Ohio General Assembly and Gov. Mike DeWine today are committing the smallest share of the state’s budget to educate Ohio’s public school kids in the last 50 years. And it’s not really close.

What’s going on here?

Simple: Ohio’s leaders have spent the last 3+ decades investing more and more money into privately run charter schools and, especially recently, have exploded their commitment to subsidize wealthy Ohioans’ private school tuitions. This has come at the expense of the 85% of Ohio students who attend the state’s public school districts.

Look at this school year, for example. In the budget, the state commits a little more than $11 billion to primary and secondary education. That represents 26.6% of the state’s $41.5 billion annual expenditure. However, this year, charter schools are expected to be paid $1.3 billion and private school tuition subsidies will soar to $1.02 billion (to give you an idea of what kind of explosion this has been, when I left the Ohio House in 2010, Ohio spent about $75 million on these tuition subsidies). So if you subtract that combined $2.32 billion that’s no longer going to kids in public school districts, now Ohio’s committing $8.7 billion to educate the 1.6 million kids in Ohio’s public school districts. That’s a 21.1% commitment of the state’s budget.

Some perspective:

  • That $8.7 billion is about what the state was sending to kids in public school districts in 1997, adjusted for inflation.
  • The 21.1% commitment currently being sent to kids in public school districts is by far the lowest commitment the state has ever made to its public school students — about 7% lower than the previous record (last year’s 22.2%) and 20% lower than the previous record for low spending in the pre-privatization era.
  • The voucher expenditure alone now drops state commitment to public school kids by nearly 10%.

Read the full post at the 10th Period substack


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