Some Ohioans believe nothing has changed due to the Ohio Supreme Court decisions in DeRolph v. State. That is far from fact. A lot has changed.
There are more than 1,200 new school buildings in school districts across Ohio in response to the DeRolph decisions. The percentage of the State General Revenue Fund (GRF) budget allotted to public K-12 education has increased from 34.5 in the fiscal year 1992 to 43.9 this fiscal year following 42.8% in FY 2017 and 42.9% in FY 2016. That is quite significant; HOWEVER, part of that which the state gave, the state took away and the current system still violates the Constitution.
In FY 1992, there were no vouchers and charters. In FY 2018 the state deducted $1,172,986,283 for charters and vouchers from Ohio school districts or 4.8% of the State GRF. The percentage in FY 2017 was 4.8 and in FY 2016 was 4.9. Therefore the net percentage of the State GRF allocated to school districts by year is:
  • FY 2018         39.1
  • FY 2017         38.0
  • FY 2016         38.0
Remember that in 1992, 34.5 % of the state budget was allocated to public K-12 education. In 1975 45.1 % of the State GRF went to public K-12 education.
What this data shows is NOT that Ohio has arrived at a constitutional system, but merely that the state budget priority for public K-12 education is higher as a result of the DeRolph litigation. During the timeframe of the DeRolph litigation and years subsequent to it, the state income tax has been slashed; hence, lessening the state’s capacity to meet its constitutional responsibilities.