“Adopting this funding model represents a generational investment that will bring Ohio 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 maintains direct payment to charter schools. Senate Speaker Matt Huffman, a Republican from Lima, has suggested that keeping these direct payments in the budget helps the two sides come together on the school funding plan. “These things have really brightened the picture,” he said.
The budget also increases the maximum amount of vouchers to attend private schools from $ 4,650 to $ 5,500 for kindergarten to grade 8 children and from $ 6,000 to $ 7,500 for high school students.
The final budget also includes $ 250 million for a broadband access subsidy program to strengthen high-speed Internet connections in underserved areas. The state estimates that 300,000 households and at least 1 million Ohio residents do not have broadband.
The Senate had cut broadband financing after Huffman said there weren’t enough details on how the money would be spent for the Senate to back it up.