Tallmadge Schools to receive increase in funding from state, according to Kasich's school funding reform plan

How much of a boost in funding is unclear, district treasurer says

by Holly Schoenstein | reporter Published:

Tallmadge -- According to Ohio Gov. John Kasich's school funding reform plan, Tallmadge City School District can expect to receive an 11 percent boost in funding, or about $700,000, from Fiscal Year 2013 to 2014.

According to figures his administration released Feb. 6, the district will get $6,909,462 in Fiscal Year 2014, up from $6,209,559 in Fiscal Year 2013. For Fiscal Year 2015, the district will get nearly $400,000 more.

The state's FY 2013 runs from July 2012 to June 2013; FY 2014 is from July 2013 to June 2014.

Kasich first presented his plan, minus the figures, to a crowd of school superintendents in suburban Columbus Jan. 31. Although the figures provided districts across the state more information and allowed them to determine how they may be affected, Tallmadge Schools Treasurer Jeff Hostetler said much is still unknown.

"Although the numbers appear to be fairly positive, a number of questions still remain as to how they were generated," he said. Transportation and career tech, areas the state has traditionally partially funded, were left out of the district's FY 2013 number. Hostetler said the school district will know more when the state's full budget, which includes Kasich's plan, is released sometime this week. As the full budget bill makes its way through the state legislature, he said he'll continue to be "cautiously optimistic."

Shortly before the district-specific figures were released, Superintendent Jeff Ferguson said Tallmadge Schools most likely wouldn't financially benefit from the plan. That's because the district wouldn't be considered one of the poorest in the state, he said.

Ferguson wasn't available to comment on the figures released later.

He said at the time that it was a relief that the governor said no districts will lose any money from what they received in the past two-year budget.

Still, Ferguson said the district continues to operate on less state money than it had been two years ago, and the amount of funding from the state is at the same level as it was in 2003.

Even though he said the district probably wouldn't get much additional support with state money, Ferguson said he agrees with the theory on which the plan is based.

"Every child deserves a world-class education, and it should not be dependent upon where you're born … ," he said, adding that a free and appropriate education is guaranteed in the Ohio Constitution. "How do we go about doing that? I still think there's an over-reliance on the local taxpayer and property tax, and I'm hoping as we get more details from this and we look into the future that we're trying to shift some of the burden from the local taxpayer, a more equitable division between the state and the local share."

Ferguson said he doesn't expect the shift to happen with the upcoming state budget.

Ohio law mandates the state's biennium budget is adopted by June 30, according to Ferguson.

An area of opportunity for Tallmadge Schools may be the Schools Innovation Fund that Kasich said will provide $300 million through a competitive grant process, Ferguson said.

"So there will be some money in different places that we might have an opportunity at that I'm going to have to sit and wait as get more details," he said.

Email: hschoenstein@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9428

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