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Eight districts receive no funding increase

Springfield, Urbana schools would see more money under proposed funding plan.

Eight local school districts would receive no additional state money under Gov. John Kasich’s proposed funding plan, while two others would see more money only in the second year of the budget.

The Springfield City School District and Urbana City Schools are the only districts in Clark and Champaign counties projected to receive an increase in state funding in fiscal year 2014 and 2015 under Kasich’s proposed “Achievement Everywhere” plan, according to projections from the governor’s office.

Triad and Tecumseh schools would receive increases only in 2015.

“It appears as though, based upon the numbers that we’ve been supplied with, that it’s good news for Springfield,” Superintendent David Estrop said.

Kasich’s plan calls for targeted aid toward students that typically cost more to educate, equalizing funding inequalities based on property values and an effort to allow money to follow students, said Barbara Mattei-Smith, associate policy director for education for the governor.

“We’ve really tried to focus funding more on a per pupil basis so that dollars can follow students, so that teachers can have the resources they need,” she said.

The projections released Wednesday afternoon show about 400 of Ohio’s 614 districts will receive no additional money with Kasich’s plan.

That formula also includes money to make up any gaps, what’s commonly called a guarantee, that ensures they won’t receive less aid than this year. Those numbers, however, don’t include state funding for transportation or career technical education.

For Greenon Local Schools, the district received about $6.2 million from the state in fiscal year 2013, including $500,000 for transportation, Treasurer Ryan Jenkins said. The governor’s projections promise the district will maintain state funding of about $5.7 million.

“As is, $6.2 million compared to $5.7 million seems like a loss to me,” Jenkins said. “I trust that it won’t end up being a loss. The governor made it very clear that no district will lose. I just want to know how we’re going to get it back.”

The overall budget appropriation for transportation for the state is the same and slightly higher for career tech education but the details of how those dollars will be distributed and how much districts will receive remains unclear, Mattei-Smith said.

“It’s not that it’s not there, they will be getting that funding,” she said. “I just don’t know if they’re going to have less of it or not … There’s not less funding there available for those funds, but we just don’t have estimates on a district basis of what happens yet because we don’t have the data to do it.”

The governor’s projections for Clark-Shawnee Local Schools says it will maintain state funding of about $4.4 million. The district also receives about $400,000 from the state for transportation.

“It’s really difficult to understand what we have at this moment … the transportation isn’t included in those figures. That’s a significant figure for us and we’re not sure how that’s going to be handled,” Superintendent Gregg Morris said.

Kasich has indicated that the guarantees that hold districts harmless during funding changes aren’t sustainable long term.

“We’ve got to have a conversation about this,” said Mattei-Smith. “The guarantee really does put money into areas where it’s less needed and over time, it really is unfair and unsustainable and it really doesn’t let us address many of the policy issues.”

Locally Northeastern Local Schools would receive the largest amount of guarantee money — $1.1 million — so losing that funding worries the district..

“The suggestion last week is that those guarantee funds will go away after the biennium budget and that would be particularly devastating to our district,” Superintendent Lou Kramer said.

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