Total state funding for K-12 schools will rise by $76.8 million in the first year of the budget (17-18), then go up by another $86.9 million the second year (18-19), according to the Legislative Service Commission analysis of the budget.
Any budget revisions resulting from Kasich’s vetoes have not yet been released.
It’s not a uniform change – in the first year, 258 school districts will see funding increase, 203 will have no change, and 149 will get less. The second year is roughly similar, but with more districts staying flat.
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In southwest Ohio, growing districts such as Beavercreek and Bethel will see state funding rise more than 5 percent each year, putting them among the top 10 gainers in the state. Funding will rise by 3 to 4 percent each year for a majority of Butler County schools. The Springfield area will be largely flat-funded, with only gainers Tecumseh and Springfield seeing any change of more than 2 percent.
Fairfield Schools Treasurer Nancy Lane said her district will use its 3 percent state increase each year “to increase opportunities for our students.”
“The system still needs to be fixed, but for our purposes, any additional funding we receive will be accepted and used accordingly,” she said.
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Only 10 percent of Ohio’s school districts will get reduced state funding in back-to-back years. Vandalia-Butler, Mason and Kettering are the regional schools on that list, losing hundreds of thousands of dollars over two years.
Most of those losses are from the continuing phase-out of tangible personal property tax reimbursements. That tax on machinery and equipment that companies use to do business ended last decade, and schools’ payments have been gradually dwindling.
“We were told to plan for this and we did,” said Kettering Treasurer Dan Schall. “But Kettering City Schools is collecting millions of dollars less per year than we once were. The loss that local taxpayers have had to make up over the years is huge.”
State funding is only one factor in school district finances, along with local levies and federal money. State-level changes have a bigger impact on poorer districts, which rely much more heavily on state funding than wealthier suburban districts do.
The budget bill includes alternate pathways to graduation for Class of 2018 students who don’t pass state tests.
Those students could graduate by meeting two of nine standards, such as 93 percent senior-year attendance, a 2.5 senior-year GPA, 120 hours of work or community service, or a special senior-year project.
“I do believe it’s a good thing for kids,” Springfield City Schools Superintendent Bob Hill said. “ This change provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency in different ways.”