Ohio School Funding Recipe

Published May 31, 2016

In its May 11 school funding opinion, the Ohio Supreme Court recognized the need to define several words at the core of the ruling. The Court offered the following recipe for legislators hoping to produce the “thorough and efficient system” of public schools mandated by the state’s constitution. The court majority also warned, however, that “the definition of ‘thorough and efficient’ is not static,” and that it does not apply to funding alone.

To make: A Thorough and Efficient System
Serves: Each and every school district in the state
Nutritional Value: Affords all student an educational opportunity
Ingredients Amounts
Funds to operate enough
Number of teachers ample
Buildings* sound
Equipment sufficient
* in compliance with state fire and building codes

Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer commented that the majority’s recipe did little to clarify for the General Assembly what the ambiguous phrase “thorough and efficient” meant. According to Moyer, the majority had merely substituted additional ambiguous and subjective criteria.

“Whether a district has ‘enough’ funds, or an ‘ample’ number of teachers, is in the eye of the beholder,” he said.