ERIC Number: ED456002
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001
Reference Count: N/A
Rural Action Strengthens Ties between School and Community during Appalachian Ohio's Long Fight for Equitable School Funding. Rural Trust Featured Project.
Null, Elisabeth Higgins
Because school systems throughout America depend on local property taxes for much of their revenue, districts with poor property valuations, especially rural districts, are facing fiscal crises. In response to a lawsuit filed in 1991, the Ohio Supreme Court twice decided that the state's heavy reliance on local property taxes for school funding violated provisions in the Ohio Constitution, mandating a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the state. The state responded with a "cookie cutter" program of school construction and renovation based on minimum numbers of enrollments and class sizes. This program is forcing school closings and consolidation. Meanwhile, the state has not yet developed equitable per-pupil funding formulas, overhauled its school financing system, provided enough money for the construction and renovation program, or paid for unfunded and partially funded mandates. The issue is still before the state's Supreme Court. Rural Action, a regional organization dedicated to social, economic, and environmental justice, has launched an initiative to help citizens learn about funding and facilities issues, develop priorities for their schools, develop leadership talent, and translate their ideas into action. It has published a series of "Little Red School Books" clarifying tax terms, mechanisms, and policies; compiling readings and resources; and helping communities learn how to set goals in advance of design and construction. It has also organized events where students and teachers meet with state legislators, architects, and agency representatives to explain what their communities need and want. (TD)
Descriptors: Activism, Community Action, Consolidated Schools, Court Litigation, Educational Equity (Finance), Elementary Secondary Education, Leadership Training, Rural Schools, School Community Relationship, School Size, State Aid, State Courts, State School District Relationship
For full text: http://www.ruraledu.org/ohiotxt9.html.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Rural School and Community Trust, Washington, DC.
Identifiers - Location: Ohio