- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio can retroactively change funding for school districts and other political subdivisions, the state Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.

The court, in its 5-2 decision, ruled that Toledo Public Schools cannot recoup $3.6 million in education subsidies withheld by the state to make up for discrepancies in enrollment figures reported for the district and charter schools, The Blade newspaper reported (http://bit.ly/1TtNeT5).

The Ohio Department of Education in 2005 found a discrepancy of 561 students reported by the district and charter schools in Toledo. The state subsequently decreased aid to make up the difference.

The retroactive change affected a number of schools, and Dayton and Cincinnati joined Toledo in suing to get their money back. About $40 million could have been at stake for the state if it was forced to return the money to the affected districts.

State lawmakers subsequently passed a law barring other districts from suing to get the funds back.

Justice Sharon Kennedy wrote for the majority opinion that the state Constitution’s protection against retroactive laws doesn’t protect political subdivisions created by the state to carry out its governmental functions.

Justice Paul Pfeifer joined in the final decision, but said the court’s majority has given state lawmakers the green light to “assert a power it had no reason to believe it had until today” by eliminating the possibility that the legislature could pass legislation that is unconstitutionally retroactive to political subdivisions.

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Information from: The Blade, http://www.toledoblade.com/

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