FUNDING OF PUBLIC EDUCATION IS THE KEY TO ECONOMIC GROWTH
“The key to economic growth and prosperity in Ohio is quality public education for all children,” says
Erin Rosiello, a Democrat running for the Ohio Statehouse from heavily Republican Warren County.
Rosiello does not sound like a Democrat when she quotes George Shultz, President Reagan’s Secretary of
State, or Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s Secretary of Education.
Rosiello cites Shultz’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (4/30/2012) lamenting the fact that U.S. students
are no longer competitive with students from other developed countries. Schultz concluded that “if we
accept this level of performance, we will surely find ourselves on a low-growth path . . . and we will be
locking in inequality problems that will plague us for decades. ” Even DeVos, acknowledged recently,
“We are being outpaced [in education] not only by our global competitors like China and Russia, but also
by countries like Estonia, Finland and Canada.” U.S. News & World Report (12/3/2019)
“School funding in Ohio is not only inadequate and unfair but it is now a ‘political football,’” Rosiello
says, citing the legislature’s propensity to underfund or cut school funding, as it did in May. “We need to
see funding K-12 education as a long-term investment in our most valuable asset, our children, rather than
just a short-term expense.”
A basic reason that funding of public schools is inadequate is that it relies primarily on real estate taxes, a
fact that our Supreme Court determined decades ago violates the Ohio Constitution. Since the late 1990s,
the Ohio Supreme Court has held in four different decisions that the Ohio public school funding system
was unconstitutional for failing to provide a “thorough and efficient” education for each Ohio student.
Twenty years later, after multiple efforts to create a constitutional Ohio school funding formula, our
legislators have yet to produce a sustainable funding system for public education.
Instead, our legislature has made it virtually impossible for local school boards to fund their schools
without using a never-ending cycle of levies. In addition, legislators continue to adopt programs such
as ECOT and EdChoice, that waste taxpayer dollars and weaken public schools. Erin believes that it
is time that our legislature adopts a sustainable funding system to assure quality public schools for all
Ohio students wherever they live. To that end, she will seek to ensure that Ohioans’ property taxes
go to their district’s public schools rather than non-public schools and overreaching voucher
Rosiello believes that the fair solution is to finance schools with taxes that are based on a taxpayer’s
income. But the GOP has underfunded public schools for years, largely to provide lower income taxes
for the rich. The result is an “upside down” tax system where the vast majority of Ohioans pay 60% or
more of their income for state and local taxes than millionaires pay. (See attached graph) “Funding
public education that way is unfair to the overwhelming majority of taxpayers,” Rosiello says.