Ohio

Eye on Education

Details of Kasich School Funding Plan Include Some Surprises

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When Gov. John Kasich unveiled the broad details of his new school funding plan last week, he summed it up like this:

“If you are poor you’re going to get more, if you’re richer you’re going to get less.”

Today, the Kasich administration released details of what his plan looks like for individual districts.

And at first glance, those details don’t jibe with Kasich’s description.

“There are some districts that would be classified wealthy that got very large increases and there are districts that I would think would be classified by anyone’s description as poor that are getting no increases,” said David Varda, executive director of the Ohio Association of School Business Officials.

“I just think the way that we thought of it after the presentations last week we thought it would have been the reverse.”

Administration officials cautioned that the details released today are estimates and subject to change. And the funding estimates don’t include money for transportation or career-technical education. Plus, the governor’s plan still has to make its way through the Legislature.

About two-thirds of all districts would see no increase in state funding.

But the districts that would see increases include some of the state’s best-off.

Some wealthy suburban districts — Olentangy and New Albany-Plain in suburban Columbus and Woodridge, Lordstown, and Twinsburg in northeast Ohio — will see their state funding more than double next year, and increase again in 2015.
Many of Ohio’s largest urban districts will see smaller increases over both years. Columbus would receive about $40 million in additional state funding over two years.

But Cleveland’s state funding won’t budge from the $405 million a year it’s slated to receive in 2013.

And many of the other districts slated to see no increase in state funding are small rural districts.

Kasich education policy advisor Barbara Mattei-Smith said that’s because school districts that many people think of as “poor” are not actually poor for the purposes of determining state funding under the Kasich plan.
In recent years, property values in rural Ohio rose while property values in cities and suburbs fell. And, at the same time, rural and urban districts lost students, while suburban districts grew, Mattei-Smith said.

That means that some suburban districts now are able to raise less property tax money per student than they were a few years ago while some rural districts are now able to raise more, Mattei-Smith said.

Under the projections released by the state, a suburban district like Olentangy that has about $192,000 of property value per student would get a more than three-fold increase in state funding. Meanwhile, Noble Local, a small rural district with about $164,000 of property wealth per student sees no increase in state funding.

Noble Local is one of many districts that rely on what’s known as a “guarantee:” a promise that they’ll get a minimum amount of state funding, no matter how many students they have.

The funding details released today include $874 million in guarantee funding.

Kasich education advisor Dick Ross said, while the funding estimates may surprise some, they represent “reality.”

“Maybe the perception needs to be recognzied as not being what’s real,” he said.

Comments

  • Disgusted with school funding

    I cannot get my head around that Olentangy and New Albany, who have programs that rural schools can’t even DREAM of, are receiving such large increases. Someone in the legislature needs to take a look at what this REALLY is doing in regards to equity. In my opinion, its more of the “rich get richer” and the “poor get poorer”….Seems to be a common GOP theme.

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