Saturday, August 14, 2004

School funding options proposed



By Cindy Kranz
Enquirer staff writer

BLUE ASH - A group of state legislators unveiled proposals for school funding alternatives Friday, while criticizing a governor's task force idea to redistribute the wealth among all districts.

"This week, preliminary reports from the Governor's Blue Ribbon tax force suggested the redistribution of $330 million across the state," said Rep. Jim Trakas, R-Independence. "This is Robin Hood funding at its worst. Taking from Peter to pay Paul is not a sensible school funding measure."

Trakas is a member of Legislators Advocating Sensible Education Reform (LASER), which presented its own ideas to school officials and the public at the Blue Ash Government Center.

Their package of proposals, Trakas said, will help all school districts.

Among the proposals:

• House Bill 526 would allow local school boards various options to decide with voters the best way to fund districts.

• House Bill 418 and 480 would allow high-growth school districts better access to the Classroom Facilities Assistance Program and to alter the School District Income Tax to apply only to earned income, giving districts another option besides asking voters to approve property tax increases.

• House Bill 356 would provide local school districts with the option to create a ballot initiative for a countywide sales tax.

• House Bill 532 would address the problem of phantom revenue, replacing it with actual revenue.

Arnold Engel, who opposed last week's defeated Fairfield school levy, said the legislators' proposals all mean increases in taxes.

"I believe the majority of people who voted 'no' believe schools are funded properly. It is not a funding problem in our schools. It is a spending problem in schools," said Engel, founder of Citizens for Accountability and Results in Education.

E-mail ckranz@enquirer.com




TOP STORIES
Cargo plane wreckage yields few early clues
Convair 580 crash history
Father-son airline flies for major cargo firms
14-year-old to be tried as an adult in 2 killings
Juvenile prison reforms outlined
Lower temps clearing the pools

IN THE TRISTATE
Officer discusses loss, new position
Nurse dedicates self to serving rural poor
Freedom owners group sued
Blue Ash neighbors sharing history
Cincinnati sends help to Charley victims
Cincinnati visit proved cooking wasn't an act
Local news briefs
Neighbors briefs
Study: Centennial event generated $68.5 million
Soul food makes for some fine dining
Hamilton Co. GOP must repay tainted gift
Judge voids speed trap's traffic tickets
Public safety briefs
Mount Airy man charged in robbery spree
School funding options proposed
Punch-card ballots raise new worries
Tax to pay for landscaping
With white coats, they don mantle of responsibility

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Good Things Happening
Nuns reflect on changes over decades

LIVES REMEMBERED
Ray Bauman ran Cheviot meat store
Carlos VerJuan Edwards, theater artistic director

KENTUCKY STORIES
Dems want more families exempt
Archbishop said he was aware of complaints in '82
N.Ky. politics comes clean
Two groups battle as Ky. Colonels
Ex-state official charged with 47 counts of stealing
Unions sue over council's abolishment
Parents, bring a pencil
UK to expand pharmacy service statewide
Robke resigns from city council
Property taxes to stay the same