Unsustainable Spending Drives Local School Levies

In a November 2 policy brief, Buckeye Institute reveals the real reason for the Ohio Education Association claim that state-level funding cuts require many school districts to introduce new levies.

The Institute presents historical evidence for school district overspending. Average annual inflation has been around 4.2 percent since 1975 while school spending has increased by 5.5 percent on average during the same time period. In many Ohio school districts, average teacher compensation is 50% higher than the average income of residents in their communities. While the current legislature has increased school funding, median income is declining. Since 2001, median has declined 16 percent.

Because employee compensation consumes 96 percent of most school budgets, Ohio overspending on schooling is simply unsustainable.

How can this problem be fixed? The Buckeye Institute makes the following proposal:

“Simply providing more tax revenue is not going to solve the problem. If taxpayers in this state are ever to get a break from the hamster wheel of local levies, compensation reforms are essential. To accomplish this, collective bargaining reform cannot be swept under the rug indefinitely.” Changing Ohio collective bargaining law, local school boards would have more flexibility to adjust compensation to reflect current fiscal reality.

To read the policy brief, go to http://www.buckeyeinstitute.org/issues/education-k-12-and-higher-ed.

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