Local property and income taxes to operate schools won't go away in the future.

Local property and income taxes to operate schools won't go away in the future.

That was the bottom line given to the Northridge Board of Education Monday evening by David Varda, executive director of the Ohio Association of School Business Officials.

Varda, who spent 22 years as a school district treasurer, mainly in Upper Arlington, provided an hour-long presentation to the board regarding how House Bill 1 changes the way schools are funded.

Currently, at Northridge, a little over half of the district's funding comes from local property and income taxes.

"Now you're in a 50-to-50 situation," Varda said. "You would change, hopefully, with 60 percent coming from the state and 40 percent locally."

Varda said H.B. 1 will require districts to have all-day kindergarten beginning in fiscal year 2011, although the state won't fund it.

Board member Brent Garee said Northridge is losing 3 percent from state funding during the next two years, yet the state is requiring Northridge to increase staff for all-day kindergarten.

"Your point is valid in these economic times, and you're not getting additional monies to do it," Varda said. "Some people are upset but in Alabama, schools were cut 9 percent to balance the budget. New Jersey cut schools 20 percent. This looks better than what some colleagues face. Other parts of Ohio's budget got cut 30 percent because of the state's woes."

Varda said H.B. 1 uses an Evidence Based Model (EBM) based on research by Allan Odden, a Wisconsin professor, and Larry Picus, a University of Southern California professor.

Twenty years ago this month, Varda said the Coalition for Equity and Adequacy sued the state of Ohio, calling for a systematic overhaul for funding for Ohio schools.

"This truly is an overhaul of school funding in Ohio," he said. "The model goes in and looks at what services are needed for students to be successful."

The new funding method is to be phased in over the next 10 years, according to Varda.

Components of Ohio's EBM include instructional, administrative, operations and maintenance, technology, gifted education and enrichment support as well as professional development and instructional material factors.

Funding for the EBM is based on calculations relating to average daily membership and the number of organizational units in a district. Those units are determined by comparing the number of elementary, middle school and high school students with the average number in Ohio for those grade levels.

The new funding model also involves various calculations for core teachers, student-teacher ratio, special education teachers, a district's local share and conversion levy, among other factors.

As long as schools districts are performing well on the state report card, Varda said, there will be fewer mandates.

"Spending mandates will be more prescriptive for districts in academic watch and emergency," he said. "This is exciting for guys like me who have been fighting like heck."

Under Ohio's old system to fund schools, Varda said there was no process to keep it up-to-date.

He said appointments are expected to be made by the end of this month for a 24-member Ohio School Funding Advisory Council.

Its task, to be completed by December 2010, includes funding recommendations for community schools, joint vocational districts, educational service centers and teacher compensation.