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Kasich’s school funding plan unveiled, superintendent reacts

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Gov. John Kasich Gov. John Kasich
(Toledo News Now) -

Ohio Governor John Kasich unveiled his school funding overhaul plan Thursday. He's promising superintendents no district will receive fewer dollars than it received the last school year.

The state funding formula for grades K-12 would increase nearly 6 percent in fiscal year 2014, 3.2 percent the next year.

"We have the money for a couple of reasons," Kasich said. "One is because the state is rebounding. The state is growing from one part of Ohio to the other. We've seen job growth, 120,000 new jobs."

Oregon Schools Superintendent Mike Zalar said the Kasich formula will do much to promote and strengthen Ohio education. Still he has some reservations.

"While it has a lot of good, positive things, it doesn't get to the real heart of the problem as it relates to school funding," Zalar said.

According to Zalar, that would be too much reliance on property taxes to fund schools.

"It's always going to be a shared partnership between the state and the local community," he said. "We just have to continue to educate our community of the good things going on in their schools."

One comment the governor made that all superintendents were excited to hear:

"I want you to know this program is fully funded. This is not something where we propose something, [but] don't have the money."

The program will increase funding for charter schools, and access to vouchers for students to attend private schools. It will also help districts that are falling behind in property values and household incomes.

"What the governor is trying to do is…equalize school funding across the state," Zalar explained. "I think the districts that are going to receive more money will be those that have historically received less revenue."

Among Kasich's proposals was also a $300 million program allowing districts to apply for grants to fund innovative ideas – called "The Straight A Fund."

It will be up to members of the Ohio legislature to approve Kasich's education funding overhaul as part of his upcoming 2-year budget.

Related: Kasich prepares to unveil Ohio school funding fix

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