As I have mentioned recently, when Gov. John Kasich bet his entire school funding plan on normalizing "per pupil valuation", he made a fatal assumption: That per pupil valuation actually measures property wealth disparity.
From a Gongwer story today, his Assistant Policy Director for Education Barbara Mattei-Smith dug further down this spider hole:
The governor's Assistant Policy Director for Education Barbara Mattei-Smith said the variety in funding increases among districts is largely because of a "fundamental shift" in property values over the past five years. Recent funding formulas have not taken those into account.
While suburban areas have seen a decline in property values, rural areas have had land value increases. The largest increase in property value was in Noble Local School District at nearly 66% over last five years, she said.
"If you look across the state and you ask who had the greatest increase in valuation, you're going to see actually that that's almost all rural districts," she said during a conference call with reporters. "So if you look at valuation per pupil and you look at it across the state, you will see declining numbers in districts like Olentangy, most of them in Franklin County, and you will see increasing values in most of your rural communities. A lot of what you're seeing here is a lot of the impact of that shift."She is trying to explain why Olentangy gets over a 300% increase in state funds under the Governor's plan, and Noble gets zip. Well, here's why Ms. Mattei-Smith's logic is fatally flawed:
Noble raises $125,941 on a mill. Olentangy raises $3,174,460 on a mill. In other words, Noble would have to see their property values go up 25 times, or 2521% to make up the disparity.
So let's assume Noble sees its property values go up 66% every five years and Olentangy's stays flat. How long would it take for Noble to raise on a mill what Olentangy does this year?
Try 191 years!
Put another way:
If Noble had 66% growth every five years since 1822, this year it would have achieved Olentangy's capacity to raise a mill. IN 1822!
See, this is why basing funding on per pupil valuation is so fundamentally flawed. It misses the real point: Ohio's system of funding was declared unconstitutional four different times by the Ohio Supreme Court because it would take Noble schools 191 years of extraordinary property valuation growth to raise what Olentangy raises on a mill this year.
Until Kasich's people understand that their way of looking at the problem is fatally flawed, I don't hold out much hope for a fix anytime soon.