TPS Supt. calls Kasich's new plan "innovative, encouraging" - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

TPS Supt. calls Kasich's new plan "innovative, encouraging"

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Ohio Governor John Kasich unveiled his school funding overhaul on Thursday. The Republican says it is aimed at helping students in poor districts compete.

13 ABC's Christine Long was in Columbus for the speech along with superintendents from districts across Northwest Ohio.

Kasich took the stage at the Polaris Hilton during a special meeting of the Buckeye Association of Administrators to unveil his new two year school reform and funding plan.

"No school district in the state of Ohio will receive fewer dollars than you received last year," says Kasich.

The crowd included Sylvania Schools Supt. Brad Rieger, Perrysburg Supt. Thomas Hosler, Oregon Supt. Michael Zalar, Bowling Green Supt. Ann McVey, Anthony Wayne Supt. Jim Fritz, and Lake Local Supt. Jim Witt. Toledo Public Schools Superintendent Jerome Pecko was also there one day after announcing he would be leaving the district when he contract expires at the end of July.

"It is innovative, but I'm going to need to sit to sit down with our treasurer and start crunching the numbers," says Pecko.

Kasich called for $1.2 billion in new state funds over two years and a focus on students who live in areas of poverty.

"We want to deliver the resources of this state fairly," says Kasich. "We want to make sure every boy and girl no matter what district they come from are going to be in a position to have the resources they need to be able to compete with any other district across the state."

Kasich's plan includes an increase to parental choice. It's an increase in funding for kids to attend private schools.

Also, he's creating a $300 million innovation fund called the Straight A Fund, similar to Race to the Top. It's a pool of one time grant money districts can apply for to modernize operations and save money.

Plus, Kasich announced a new funding formula his administration says give equal weight to income and property.

He spoke about equalization when it comes to mills. Right now he says districts are required to levy 20 mills from property taxes. Kasich says funding changes would bring all schools up to the tax base level of a district with $250,000 in property value per student. That means every student's district will have the same amount of resources at the 96th percentile statewide regardless of the actual value of their district's property tax base.

"If you are poor, then you are going to receive the entire extra 15 mills from the State of Ohio without even passing a levy. If in fact you then move and pass a levy, that's gravy on top of what we're already giving you," says Kasich.

"I don't know that it'll really get us to parity with those districts that have had good support with levies, but it's encouraging," says Pecko.

Thursday was a broad overview of Kasich's new school funding and reform plan. His administration says next week the print-outs will be ready to go out to individual school districts showing them their bottom line.

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