OHIO — School districts across the state are keeping their fingers crossed in hopes that the Ohio General Assembly will finally pass the Fair School Funding Plan. While they wait, they'll also be looking to see just how many students will or won't attend their schools. 

What You Need To Know

  • The pandemic prompted families to move their children to other districts, private schools and homeschooling

  • Districts looking to recoup money as a result of pandemic costs may not know until next fall what they'll really receive 

  • Districts receive money for the students they educate

Over the last year, many districts had a hard time tracking down students. That's because the pandemic put distance between students, teachers and administrators. For some, that distance met attending a new school in a new city or state. For others, it meant living with a relative outside of the school they were attending. But it also meant going to another school that offered in-person learning. 

As districts have managed to find many of their students, they will soon have to grapple with who they've gained or lost to other schools. That boils down to dollars and cents — something many were already struggling with as they worked to reopen school with CARES Act dollars. 

When money is allocated to school districts, House Speaker Rep. Bob Cupp (R) explained, “We fund where a student is educated. So if they're going to the public school in your district of residence, that's where the money goes.”

But the problem districts face this coming fall is not having a full idea as to how much less or how much more they may receive because families may move around again if school is back open as it was before the pandemic.

“Obviously that would change what a district gets compared to the spreadsheet because we're assuming you know sort of the status quo... in large measure,” said Cupp. 

With that understanding, this upcoming school year will be one to watch as districts look to get the funding they deserve.

“The shift between community schools and traditional public schools because of the pandemic and whenever, that's, that's quite a be an interesting thing to follow so there is a bit of uncertainty about," Cupp said.

While this plays out, Cupp said the goal is still to fund schools in the simplest way possible, so districts can educate their students with the resources needed.

The Ohio House passed the Fair School Funding Plan. Now it’s in the hands of the Ohio Senate.