At City Club 05.27.05: School Funding Redux

Submitted by peter holmes on Fri, 05/27/2005 - 14:45.

Ohio could become the first state to enact a constitutional requirement for education funding levels, Bryan Flannery, told a Cleveland City Club Forum Friday.

Flannery, a former municipal and state officeholder, is the self-described chief advocate of a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution. He leads a state-wide effort to get the 320,000 signatures needed to put the proposed amendment on November's ballot.

The amendment would place a 15 mil cap on property taxes, necessitating an increase in state support for public education. A typical Cleveland Heights homeowner, for example, would realize a property tax reduction of more than $2,400, according to figures supplied by an advocacy group, EducateOhio.org: Property owners in most other cities would see a smaller reduction.

Flannery told the City Club audience that the proposed amendment responds to the Ohio General Assembly's failure to enact legislative in response to the Ohio Supreme Court's rulings that the current system of funding public schools is unconstitutional. "A complete systematic overhaul of the school funding system," has been called for by the state's high court.

The proposal envisions a panel of experts to determine minimum funding levels required to meet yet-to-be determined educational standards. Whether the overall level of taxation changes, Flannery said, depends upon priorities set by the General Assembly. Ohioans can assume a leadership position in elementary and secondary education through enactment of the proposed Constitutional amendment, he said.

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