State budget to include Ohio K-12 school funding overhaul | National Government and Political News

Restoration of the Fair School Funding Plan brought praise from school organizations.

“Enacting this funding model represents a generational investment that will thrust Ohio forward into an era of stable and predictable education budgets to help schools meet the needs of all students,” said Rick Lewis, CEO of the Ohio School Boards Association.

The Senate also included a plan that for the first time would require the state, not individual districts, to pay charter schools directly.

The budget compromise announced Monday keeps the direct payment to charter schools. Senate President Matt Huffman, a Lima Republican, suggested that keeping such direct payments in the budget helped the two sides come together on the school funding plan. “Those things really cleared the picture,” he said.

The budget also increases the maximum amount for vouchers to attend private schools from $4,650 to $5,500 for children in grades K-8 and from $6,000 to $7,500 for high school students.

The final version of the budget also includes $250 million for a broadband access grant program meant to boost connections to high-speed internet in underserved areas. The state estimates 300,000 households and at least 1 million residents across Ohio lack broadband.

The Senate had removed the broadband funding after Huffman said there weren’t enough details on how the money would be spent for the Senate to support it.