CINCINNATI - Governor John Kasich’s administration is working closely with the Cincinnati Public School district and several others to develop a new school funding formula.
Kasich would like state funding to follow the child and CPS has used a similar budget method when it comes to dispersing money to its individual schools.
CPS had based its building-level budgets on the number of students who attend each school with weights for poverty, gifted, special education, career-tech, and Advanced Placement classes.
"We would give the schools a budget and then let them hire the necessary staff," said CPS Superintenent Mary Ronon. "Ten years ago we'd say you're an elementary school, here's your $4 million. You'd hire art, music, P.E., a nurse, whatever you need for your building and we let the schools determine that," said CPS Superintendent Mary Ronan.
In the last few years, Ronan says the district has been more restrictive on allowing new hires because funding uncertainty could mean that employee could be laid off the next year and the district would have to cover unemployment costs.
Ronan said she thinks her district-level formula could be applied as a way to distribute state funds to districts.
"I do think it's one of the ways you could do it, a per-pupil funding, but I have to say, we were always tweaking every year because sometimes those formulas can be a bit off and any time we saw one school getting a lot more than another we tried to refine it every year over probably the 15 years we have used it," said Ronan.
Cincinnati Public Schools is the third largest district in the state. Ronan says CPS applies for grant funding every year.
Kasich has been urging districts to share services to reduce costs. CPS is one of the districts that has already been sharing services.
"We've become entrepreneurial and gone out there and picked up business partners and nonprofit partners. What we do is we invite them into our buildings, we give them free space; they provide the services for our youngsters. I think we'll see more of that," said Ronan.
In December Governor Kasich signed a new school report card bill into law ( HB 555 ). It replaces the current rating system ranging from “Excellent” to “Academic Watch” with an “A-F” grading system.
Kasich is expected to unveil his complete education and school funding plan later this month.
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