Amid much fanfare, Gov. John Kasich announced this week that his just-introduced budget provides a $200 million increase to Ohio’s schools. However, as with most plans, the devil is in the details. That’s because Kasich rarely gives additional money to schools. As we have learned with past budgets, funding increases are often offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget.
Once again, in the latest budget, we see multiple instances of this practice. For instance, when Kasich claims unprecedented levels of funding for schools, he is only talking about one line item in the budget — the state foundation line. However, he has all but eliminated a different line item — reimbursement for the loss of tangible personal property tax levy proceeds once enjoyed by school districts. Prior to his administration, TPP reimbursements provided more than $1 billion a year to schools. In this budget, they are less than a fifth of prior funding levels.
Indeed, the same holds true for other cuts in the budget, which combined more than erase the much-touted $200 million increase. Below are 8 line items in the budget that amount to a $227 million cut to schools:
Separately, Kasich promises to phase out “guarantees,” or funding to districts based on past levels, protecting districts from funding losses when enrollment shrinks. Depending how the policy is implemented, this change could mean more than half of all Ohio school districts will see reductions in direct aid, disproportionately impacting low-wealth districts.
We have that analysis to look forward to later this week when the Ohio Department of Education provides district-level information on funding for schools.
Want to do your part to advocate for school funding policies that actually help? Here are a few things you can do today: