In Search of More Money for Schools Ohio Court Ruling Only the Latest to Find School Funding to Be Inadequate, Unfair

By Ann Scott Tyson, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, April 30, 1997 | Go to article overview

In Search of More Money for Schools Ohio Court Ruling Only the Latest to Find School Funding to Be Inadequate, Unfair


Ann Scott Tyson, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


Stepping into John Kirk's social studies class in this rural Ohio town is a little like entering a time capsule.

Antiquated gas lamp fixtures poke from the ceiling. Plumbing pipes dating from the 1920s run along the rough brick walls. Outdated textbooks patched together with duct tape warn of "the great communist menace."

Such features might help Mr. Kirk teach history, but not in the way he'd like. "This is ludicrous," he says, looking at an old map of the Soviet Union in his basement classroom at Vinton County High. Vinton High is a sobering example of the inequities and shortfalls in public-school financing in many parts of America. In Ohio, where schools feast or fast on local property taxes and per-pupil spending ranges from $4,000 to $12,000, poor districts such as Vinton have been reduced to begging. "Whatever we can hustle, we do - to survive," says Kirk. Across the country, the education gap has widened as obsolete state funding systems fail to account for demographic changes and unevenly rising costs. The 1990s recession worsened the disparities between poor and wealthy communities by slowing growth in state aid compared with local revenues. In recent years, growing numbers of neglected districts such as Vinton have successfully joined lawsuits to demand more adequate and equitable funding. Since 1989, courts have found school-finance systems unconstitutional in 13 states. Litigation is under way in eight others. The resulting wave of financial reform promises new sustenance for Vinton and thousands of other needy school districts nationwide. Moving in the right direction "The general trend is more money for schools," says Allan Odden, professor of education at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and member of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE). (See map, above right, for average per-pupil spending.) Studies show that in states where courts have overturned the system, funding has risen an average $600 per student, Professor Odden says. Most, though not all, of the state reforms are a direct outcome of court mandates. States "wouldn't be {acting} as aggressively without the court cases," says Odden. Ohio is a case in point. In 1991, a group of five school districts in rural Perry County filed a suit, DeRolph v. State of Ohio, charging that inadequate funding and extreme disparities were robbing Ohio pupils of their constitutionally guaranteed right to a high-quality education. For six years the state fought the suit, even as the coalition of plaintiffs grew to encompass more than 500 school districts, including Vinton. In a landmark decision last month, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled the state's public-school financing system unconstitutional. Education "ranks miserably low" in the state's priorities, the majority stated in the 4 to 3 decision. "The time has come to fix the system." The court ordered Ohio lawmakers to carry out "a complete ... overhaul" of the system to ensure all 1.8 million public school children are adequately educated. The Ohio court's emphasis on what constitutes an "adequate" education reflects a nationwide trend in school funding reform, experts say. It contrasts with an earlier wave of reform that started in the 1970s in California and focused more on alleviating inequity among districts. "The first round of lawsuits in the 1970s tended to be equity lawsuits, {involving} the distribution of money across districts," says Linda Hertert, director of policy studies at the Education Commission of the States in Denver. Problems arose, however, when such reforms coincided with radical tax-relief initiatives such as California's Proposition 13. Although funds were distributed more evenly, their levels were too low, says John Meyers of the education consulting firm Augenblick & Meyers in Denver. To avoid such pitfalls, reform advocates in Ohio and several states recently or currently involved in litigation - including Alabama, Louisiana, Minnesota, New York, and North Carolina - have pushed state lawmakers to define and guarantee an adequate education. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

In Search of More Money for Schools Ohio Court Ruling Only the Latest to Find School Funding to Be Inadequate, Unfair
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.