Bill Phillis, founder of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy became outraged when he read that Education Trust praised Ohio for spending more in the neediest districts, because Phillis says the state is not spending enough on education. Equitable is not enough. Spending must also be adequate. Phillis is retired. He was Deputy Superintendent of the State Department of Education and probably knows more about the education budget than anyone else in the state.

He writes:

”Education Trust* report: Ohio provides more funds per student in districts with high concentrations of minorities and poverty-but what is the rest of the story?

A February 27 Columbus Dispatch article is headlined–Despite doubts Ohio gets high funding marks.

Education Trust gave Ohio high marks because, in contrast to many other states, high poverty districts receive more revenue per pupil than even the suburban districts. That should be no surprise. High poverty districts typically have greater concentrations of children with disabilities and other special needs such as English Language Learners.

This report provides no education policy implications for Ohio. It adds nothing to the school funding discussion. Ohio operates an unconstitutional system of public K-12 education. The school funding formula is plagued with caps and guarantees and other complicated nuances due to an unconstitutionally low level of state funding.

The funding formula is further bedeviled by charter school policy that drains funds from school districts.

With its robust largess, Education Trust may wish to become proactive and conduct a cost study to determine the level of funding that would satisfy Ohio’s constitutional provision to secure a thorough and efficient system of common schools.

*Education Trust was involved in writing No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The Gates Foundation has given it over $30 million. High stakes testing is part of its DNA.