Percentage of State GRF budget allotted to K-12 education driven up by Court Decisions in DeRolph, but vouchers and charters skim off the increase that rightfully belongs to school districts.

In 1975, 45% of Ohio’s General Revenue Budget was allotted to K-12 public education. By fiscal year 1991, that percentage had decreased to 34.5% the same year the DeRolph school funding litigation was filed in Perry County Court of Common Pleas. In a knee-jerk reaction to the lawsuit, State officials enacted an supplemental Equity Aid Formula that provided additional basic aid to about 200 low property wealth school districts. Their intent was to back the low property wealth districts away from the litigation. Since the litigation moved forward and ultimately was decided in favor of the Plaintiff school districts, State officials have begrudgingly stepped-up funding to K-12 education, but at the same time diverted school district funds to charters and vouchers.

At the beginning of the voucher/charter school rage in fiscal year 1999, the percentage of the State Budget GRF allotted to K-12 education was 36.8%, (up from 34.6% in 1991) compared to 36.7% for school districts. By fiscal year 2021, the percentage of the State Budget GRF allotted to K-12 education was 42.6% compared to 36.8% for school districts.

The attached table displays the trends. It is apparent that the DeRolph case spawned an increase in the state priority for K-12 education. Paradoxically, charters and vouchers benefitted from the Court Decisions in DeRolph.

Percentages of GRF allotted to public schools

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