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Local schools feel the pinch from loss of state funding



Published: Fri, November 9, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

Cuts in state funding for pub- lic schools and the diversion of funds from public school districts to charter schools and voucher programs have been a fact of life in Ohio for years.

While politicians in Columbus have boasted about their success in balancing the state’s budget, much of the burden has been shifted to local governmental entities. While the General Assembly has pursued a decade-long effort to expand charter schools and voucher programs — often with no evidence that these programs were improving education in the state one whit — local and city school districts throughout the state have struggled to make up their losses.

This trend has been particularly costly for well-off suburban school districts. They may get only $2,500 per pupil from the state, but they lose $5,700 from their state allotment for every student who transfers to a charter school or one of the e-schools that provide students with a computer and online support for independent study.

Those kind of losses add up fast, especially at a time when the state is making other cuts and when the cost of doing business — from salaries, to utilities to gasoline for school buses — is increasing.

There’s some evidence that local taxpayers are coming to recognize that the financial squeeze is threatening the quality of education in their communities.

State results

Ohio voters passed more than half the school funding levies on ballots statewide. The Ohio School Boards Association said that 105 funding levies were approved by voters Tuesday, while 87 were rejected.

But renewal issues did much better than those seeking additional funding. Just 37 percent of the 122 requests for new tax dollars passed.

In Mahoning County, three of five school levies seeking additional funds were approved, a 60 percent rate.

Boardman voters approved a 3.9-mill, three-year additional emergency operating levy that will generate $3,178,231. Superintendent Frank Lazzeri noted that the district has lost $15.4 million in state funding over the past 10 years. Even with the additional local money, some cuts are likely in the future.

Poland Local School District voters approved a 5.9-mill, five-year additional emergency operating levy that will generate $2,181,867 annually. That district has lost $5.5 million in state revenue over five years and was facing a budget deficit at the 2013-14 school year.

Youngstown voters also approved an important 10.4-mill renewal levy for their schools, and in South Range a 2.4-mill renewal levy passed.

But voters in Springfield rejected a bond issue, and voters in Jackson-Mitlon rejected both an additional and a renewal levy for the schools.

Challenges remain

Clearly school boards and school administrators continue to face challenges when asking voters during tough times to approve tax issues.

In Trumbull County, only Mathews Schools passed an additional levy while Brookfield and Champion rejected theirs. Renewals were approved in Howland and Joseph Badger districts.

Voters in both counties, however, showed that despite the tough economic times, people care about those among us who are most vulnerable.

In Mahoning County renewal issues were approved to treat those with tuberculosis and related diseases; to fund Children Services and to continue Western Reserve Transit Authority service. In Trumbull County voters approved a renewal levy supporting the Fairhaven program.


Comments

1palmer16121(116 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Actually, I have a better question. Why haven't you Ohio residents call out the state legislature to actually follow a court order to FAIRLY fund the school systems? I know over here in Pennsylvania, the levy system is quite rare, but still requires public input. However, I would hope Ohio would just drop that levy system for something similar. In the end, the children lose out.

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2NoBS(1959 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Put the blame squarely where it belongs - on Kasich. The state is holding on to a surplus of money, and he still refuses to return any of it to the local municipalities and schools. Don't you remember, he declared war on the public employee teachers? This whole financial shortfall is the fault of Kasich's policies.

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3ohioption(49 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

You all need to look at what other school districts are doing outside the Mahoning Valley. Look at Clinton-Massie school district for example. They have saved over 1.5 million by reducing staff and cutting expenses. They are using more electronic presentations and they have an agreement with Urbana College for their high school students to take courses there for $50 per course. Their goal is to accelerate education and quit doing those things that they don't need to do anyway. By the way they are Excellent with Distinction the last two years. Don't blame Kasich. The problem is yours. And you need to solve it.

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4VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

It is very, very difficult to support local schools when school teachers promote the merits of unions to their students and offer them bumper stickers supporting Democratic candidates. One teacher even convinced my young grandson to support the Pittsburgh Steelers, rather than the Cleveland Browns.

What are they doing in school these days??? Talking football, unions and Politics??? They have a young, captive audience and they are brainwashing our children into supporting their views!!! No wonder they can't pass school levies.

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5doubled(210 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Vindyak -- you're a complete tool. There's no other way to respond to your moronic opinion -- and that's all it is, an opinion. No Facts. No Credibility. Just like your boyfriend Romney. And last time I checked, he got his a$$ kicked.

Fact: kasich raised all of our taxes, significantly, by pulling state school funding, as well as many other state assisted local funding projects.. Now all of the people get to pay more in taxes just to keep things from falling apart. But the businesses that line 224 and 422 ALL get major tax breaks, even though they use up most of the local community resources, and the rest of us now get to foot the bill. But hey, those most of those businesses have earned those huge tax cuts b/c they've created soooo many new jobs, right? Even if most of those jobs are part time at 7.75 an hour. Yeah, those poor billionare job creators, like best buy, target, and wall mart sure have earned their benefits -- and kasich made sure they got them, all at the local homeowner's expense. He's a scammer. And you fell for it. Remember that in 2014.

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6Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

All you GOP/KKK types just say THANK YOU GOV. KKK just keep it up

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7VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

I love it when posters such as the last two get so uptight and defensive about their convictions that they turn into driveling idiots.

What I said earlier is the truth. They know it and they are part of the problem.

Btw... Kasich balanced the books and took us out of a financial crisis by an overspending previous Dumocratic governor. All you Dumocrats want to do is spend, spend, spend, give money to unions and watch our national debt climb. Wise up. Government doesn't create the economy, businesses do. Government only hampers it. Enjoy your next 4 years, its going to be a rough ride for a while.

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8doubled(210 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Thanks yak - we will enjoy the next four years, and the next four after that, and so on and so on. You're all done. You got your hat handed to you against obama and the democratic party. Man, you must be miserable knowing that even with you and your tea party psychos screaming about how horrible everything is, you still didn't even come close to winning. Don't worry too much though, after awhile, you'll get used to being completely miserable - and take comfort in knowing that none of us really care.

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9NoBS(1959 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Vindyak, Kasich didn't bring Ohio out of a financial crisis - he merely shifted the burden from the state level to the local level. He grabbed onto the money we taxpayers pay the state, that's supposed to be returned to local municipalities, and kept it for himself. He also gave himself and his cronies a nice raise. If the residents of this state want their streets plowed, their fires put out, their crooks arrested, and their kids taught at school, they have to pay MORE taxes to keep even some of what they had before Kasich took over.

Oh, and Vindyak, while our last "Dumbocrat governor" was in office, what was Kasich doing? Running Lehman Brothers into the ground, and making sure he got outta there with his fortune intact. How did the ReCHUMPlican governor before the last Dumbocrat governor conduct himself? COINGATE, anybody? The worst you can say about Strickland was that you think he overspent. But before him the guy was a crook. After him, the guy was a crook at his former job. I'd rather have the guy who you teabaggers think might have overspent.

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