Ohio can boast of praiseworthy gains over the past decade in making school funding more equitable across districts. The next step must be to make funding fairer within districts, according to this study from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. This imperative also gives Ohio the opportunity to modernize its public-education finance system to keep pace with powerful changes in the education system itself.
To mitigate the school-finance inequities that remain within districts and gear school funding toward the realities of student mobility, school choice and effective school-based management, the report recommends that Ohio embrace Weighted Student Funding (WSF).
Weighted Student Funding makes equity a reality within districts by allocating resources based on the needs of individual students and by sending dollars directly to schools rather than lodging most spending decisions at the district level.
Today, one in seven Ohio students is educated in a school other than their neighborhood district school. Families increasingly change schools during the course of their children's K-12 careers and more and more of them select options other than their assigned district schools, options that include magnet schools, community (charter) schools, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) schools. Yet there is no mechanism to ensure that as students move from one school to another, resources move, too.
And while Ohio has made a start at modifying education funding according to the singular needs of individual children, most school dollars are doled out without regard to student circumstances and needs-and even when they are, districts may...