Gov. John Kasich’s $1.8 billion in cuts to Ohio public education put a $3 million hole in the Perrysburg schools budget. This hit couldn’t have come at a worse time. Perrysburg is a Toledo bedroom community that’s been rapidly growing over the past few years. In the past five years, its school district has seen enrollment gains of 7%. The district is having problems with overcrowded classrooms and needs more teachers and space to keep class sizes down.
But that’s kind of hard when you’ve had to cut staff by 6% to stay solvent. It could get worse.
Perrsyburg schools are looking to voters this fall for an incremental expense levy that begins at 13.15 mills in 2013 and grows to 17 mills in 2016. It will raise $10 million in the first year and replace an expiring levy that currently generates about $7.5 million per year. What this means for local taxpayers is a $102 increase in taxes on a $100,000 home.
Things get worse for Perrysburg kids, parents and teachers if the replacement levy fails. The current levy makes up about 20% of the district budget. With no levy in place, Perrysburg is looking at cutting another 96 staff – including 53 teachers. Bus routes will be pared down, field trips cancelled, full-day kindergarten gone and elementary phys-ed and art cut to one class per month. Most alarmingly, the school day will be cut to the state minimum – 2.5 hours for kindergarten, 5 hours for grades 1-6 and 5.5 hours for grades 7-12.
Sound like a district able to ready Ohio’s next generation for the jobs of the future?
To IO, it sounds like another district getting the shaft courtesy of a Columbus shell game. While Gov. Kasich and Republican leaders smile and congratulate themselves over the last state budget, their constituents are starting to see that the costs were just shifted down the line – to them. Next year is another state budget year – Ohioans better pay more attention to their legislators and governor.