Ohio facing five billion dollar deficit

Maureen Nagg

There may be a light at the end of the tunnel for education in Ohio, one expert said.

Rep. Kathleen Chandler moderated a discussion by Paolo DeMaria, associate superintendent of the Center for School Finance for the Ohio Department of Education, on school funding policy at the political science department’s Public Policy Symposium yesterday.

Kathleen Chandler, who represents the Kent area, joined the symposium and said Ohio is facing a $5 billion deficit. It is the worst in 40 years, Chandler said.

“Many of my colleagues want to make school budgets more efficient and think of schools in a business matter,” Chandler said. “They are missing the most important aspect. The teacher-student relationship is the essence of education, and often that part is ignored.

“Education and economic development go hand in hand,” she said. “The best thing to do in order to improve the economy is to create an educated workforce.”

DeMaria spoke about what the state government wants to see in school policy in the future.

Having each community decide what goals they want to pursue and making education affordable is on the top of the list.

“Every student is different and has individual needs,” DeMaria said. “We need to figure out how to accommodate this.”

On the topic of Ohio’s billion dollar deficit, DeMaria said the state decides on the amount of money it feels is enough to educate a regular student in a regular setting.

The current amount of the state education budget allocated per child is $5,169.

This amount isn’t enough for students living in poverty and students with special needs, he said.

However, providing more money for students with special needs isn’t the only thing on the state’s agenda.

“The challenge isn’t bringing a school’s average up to a certain level, it’s to bring every individual student to a certain level,” DeMaria said.

Contact College of Arts and Sciences reporter Maureen Nagg at [email protected].