Marysville News

Kasich budget contains some good news

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Marysville schools may get an increase in funding from the state but district administrators stress that voters will still have to renew current levies to keep the district running.

Gov. John Kasich released his proposed budget last week.

The state Office of Budget and Management released a district-by-district spreadsheet simulating the funding that would be generated under the governor's school-funding proposal and it shows that Marysville schools would receive an increase.

Superintendent Diane Mankins said it is good news for the district, so far.

"After years of flat and, in some years, decreased state and federal funding, we welcome this positive news. However, it is still very early in the budget process and the upcoming legislative debate could potentially change what those numbers look like," she said.

"We do not anticipate final state budget numbers until June 2013 at the very earliest," Mankins said.

Information regarding tangible personal property taxes in the budget is helpful for the district as well, she said.

"TPP was not reduced, which is essential for our district," Mankins said.

Ohio began to eliminate the tangible personal property tax in 2008. As Mankins and the board made the case for the levy last fall, they estimated the district had lost $1.8 million in state funding over the past two years and that it would lose an additional $450,000 a year until the TPP is eliminated entirely. That money appears safe for now.

Kasich calls his education plan "Achievement Everywhere." The proposed budget includes $1.2 billion in new state funds over two years.

A comment from Mankins on the "Achievement Everywhere" website acknowledges the time and effort in preparing the plan.

"Equity has been a long-standing problem and I applaud the efforts of Gov. Kasich to tackle this important issue. The notion of an innovation fund is exciting," she said.

Mankins is part of a governor's advisory committee with about 20 other superintendents.

"We were asked to give feedback on the educational improvement plan," she said. "We will also be collaborating with university presidents in the near future.

"It is a very exciting opportunity to listen and learn together with a focus on creating additional opportunities for all students."

The "Achievement Everywhere" formula for distributing state funds to local schools begins with "Core Opportunity Aid." This aid means every school district that levies 20 mills in property taxes ($20 for every $1,000 of assessed property value) will generate the same as a district with a $250,000 per-pupil property tax base.

The "Targeted Assistance" feature provides additional funds to school districts based, in part, on the income of their residents. This provides for districts where residents earn lower incomes, even though property tax values may be average or above average.

"Guarantee Funds" allows no district to receive less in formula state aid than it did in the current 2013 fiscal year. The idea is to keep districts with fewer students from suffering formula funding reductions and it also caps formula funds to large growing districts.

Kasich's plan calls "Guarantee Funds" unsustainable and unfair, and says school districts should prepare for these to be phased out.

The "Achievement Everywhere" plan includes a variety of other initiatives, including allocating funds for in-classroom needs of students and educators and additional money for schools to help them educate and support students with disabilities.

Special funds are provided for the first three years that a non-English-speaking student attends school in the United States to help the student become proficient in English.

Additional resources will go to school districts with large populations of disadvantaged students, but limited access to early childhood programs.

"Achievement Everywhere" would give districts $50 per student to help identify gifted students and support their learning styles and abilities.

The governor's plan also would create a new $300-million "Straight A Fund" to provide one-time grants to districts that try new strategies to help students improve their achievement levels.

"Regardless of the final numbers from the new proposal, the proposal has to be approved (by state lawmakers) and we will not know that until June," Mankins said. "Knowing this puts an emphasis on passing the renewal on the May ballot."

The board and administration have made it clear the 9-mill renewal must pass in order to keep the district going.

"This 9-mill renewal will result in zero increase in taxes and allow us to continue to our current operations and opportunities for all students," Mankins said.

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