Dublin Villager

State funding proposal could be good news

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Good things are coming for Dublin City Schools if the preliminary estimates for state funding released last week stay true.

Gov. John Kasich last week released preliminary estimates for funding for Ohio school districts for 2014 and 2015 and Dublin City Schools could see a 25-percent increase next year.

"It's very preliminary, but we're very pleased with how the formula looks," Treasurer Stephen Osborne said.

"Right now there's a 25-percent increase for next school year, which equates to $2.8 million more and an additional 8.21 percent (increase) in fiscal year 2015. That's another $1.5 million."

For the 2013 fiscal year, the district expects to get $11.3 million from the state.

According to preliminary numbers released last week, Dublin City Schools could get $14 million in state funding in 2014 and $15.2 million in 2015.

"If the budget remains as we see it today, it's definitely a win for Dublin schools," Superintendent David Axner said. "It won't keep us off the ballot, but it may extend the length of the levy."

The preliminary state funding for Dublin City Schools is more than anticipated in the district's five-year forecast.

The district expected to see $12.8 million from the state for the 2013-14 school year and $12.76 million for the 2014-15 school year.

"The 25-percent increase sounds big, but keep in mind that is an additional $2.8 million out of a $170 million budget," Osborne said.

"But it's certainly better than what we've seen in past years," Osborne said. "We're not only excited about those increases, but the $300 million in funding available through grants through improving efficiency and achievement."

"There are a lot of areas we're excited about," Axner said. "There are the grants on intervention and the Governor mentioned he wants to see us not just adding things, but things that can save the district money down the road.

"He wants us to think out of the box and be able to bring costs down and hopefully stretch the levy."

The preliminary estimates released last week are part of Kasich's "Achievement Everywhere" plan for Ohio schools and includes his plan to funnel money into classrooms.

For 2014, the district will receive $10.6 million in core community aid, $2.8 million for students with disabilities, $363,140 for English language learners and $691,403 for gifted students, preliminary estimates said.

Axner said the state money earmarked for special education could help the district fund one of the more expensive programs.

"The governor's office was making the circuit in regards to asking what we can do to help," Axner said. "They heard special education costs are really making it difficult in the budget."

The district is on the lookout for changes to the budget, though. The budget will first go to the state house and then the senate. Osborne doesn't expect approval until June.

Axner is on the lookout for additional educational reform to be added before approval.

"Our fight will be trying to keep this as it is or close to it," he said.

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