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Aaron Marshall
By Aaron Marshall June 28, 2012

Old plan scrapped and tangible steps in new direction have begun

Regardless of whether you agree with him, Gov. John Kasich doesn"t like to beat around the bush.

The Republican governor wasn't exactly mincing his words back on the campaign trail in 2010 when he pledged to completely undo the school-funding plan of Democratic Governor Ted Strickland.

Kasich told The Cincinnati Enquirer that if he was elected governor, Strickland's evidence-based funding model would be "gone."

The biggest step toward nuking Strickland's "evidence-based" school-funding system was taken in Kasich's first budget, which passed in summer 2011. That budget wiped out the formula developed by the Strickland administration. A "bridge" formula was put in its place.

The bridge formula was basically a placeholder formula designed to give school districts about the same proportion of a cut in state funding when looked at relative to the total amount of money they have for education including local dollars. The idea was to put in place a bridge until Team Kasich could devise its own school-funding formula.

In recent weeks, the Kasich administration had taken steps further down the path away from Strickland's school funding formula toward something new.

Lawmakers enacted Kasich's Third Grade Reading Guarantee designed to essentially end the practice of social promotion and ensure that all third-graders have passed a reading test before moving to fourth grade. Another Kasich administration push enacted recently by lawmakers has been to toughen the standards on report cards handed out for all Ohio schools.

Meanwhile, the new school-funding formula is still being worked on privately by Barbara Mattei-Smith, the assistant policy director for education in the govnernor's office, with an eye toward getting more dollars into the classroom and out of administration.

This summer, House Finance Committee lawmakers are holding a series of regional hearings  across the state to discuss how best to craft a new school funding formula. Ultimately, something new will undoubtedly put in place in time for the next state operating budget which rolls out March 2013.

While Kasich's new formula hasn't emerged yet -- and likely won't until next year's executive budget proposal -- Strickland's "evidence-based" model has been scrapped and tangible steps in another direction have begun, especially with Kasich's emphasis on the reading scores of third-graders.

That's enough to bump the Kasich-O-Meter for the governor"s pledge to end Strickland's system from "In the Works" to "Promise Kept."

Our Sources

Robert Higgs
By Robert Higgs June 2, 2011

Gov. John Kasich’s budget proposal would throw out former Gov. Ted Strickland’s education blueprint

Gov. John Kasich doesn"t think much of his predecessor"s plan to pay for the education of Ohio"s schoolchildren.

In his campaign against then-Gov. Ted Strickland, Kasich vowed to scrap the so-called "evidence-based” funding model that Strickland considered one of his most important achievements. The funding formula tied school money to specific things found to be important to the quality of education, such as the size of classes and the number of counselors and administrators.

Kasich, however, attacked Strickland"s plan as being full of unfunded mandates on schools.

Documents outlining the two-year budget proposal Kasich unveiled on March 15 included specific language calling for the repeal of the evidence-based school funding model.

The budget is still being deliberated in the General Assembly, but based on Kasich"s proposal, we move the Kasich-O- Meter for this promise to In the Works.

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