New Albany News

Kasich's proposed budget

Officials reserve judgment on funding plan, for now


New Albany-Plain Local school officials are waiting to see what the Ohio legislature does with Gov. John Kasich's proposed budget before responding to the proposed changes in school funding.

"We'll have to wait and see if what is proposed passes or is changed," said district spokesman Patrick Gallaway.

Superintendent April Domine said the governor spoke about his plan at a recent meeting of the Buckeye Association of School Administrators and what was released this month is different from what he mentioned at the meeting.

She said district officials are looking forward to following the legislative process to see if and how the proposed funding system will change.

Gallaway said district officials are "encouraged by the mention of full support to the special education needs" but will have to study the plan further to "weigh all of this against the type of district we are here in New Albany and where everything factors out for the local support versus what we receive from the state, which at this time is very minimal."

According to the district's annual report, state funds made up 14 percent of the general operating fund in the 2011-12 school year. The rest came from local taxes.

Estimates from the Ohio Office of Budget and Management released Feb. 6 show the New Albany-Plain Local Schools will receive $1,630,459 in fiscal year 2013 and $2,951,742 in fiscal 2014. The governor's plan, called "Achievement Everywhere," calls for redirecting $1.2 billion in general fund revenue and lottery spending to education over the next two years.

According to Kasich's office, the plan will continue the state's "guaranteed" funding in fiscal year 2013 to prevent districts that are losing students from losing funding and also limiting the amount of funds given to expanding districts.

The plan includes "Core Opportunity Aid," which will ensure every school district "that levies 20 mills in property taxes (20 dollars for every $1,000 of assessed property value) will generate the same as a district with a $250,000 per-pupil property tax base," according to the governor's website.

The plan's "targeted assistance" provides funds to district based on income taxes, providing funds where income ranges are lower even if property tax values are at the state's average.

The plan also provides resources for special education, English language learners, early childhood programs, children who live in poverty and gifted and talented education.

A "Straight-A-Fund" will offer one-time grants to districts "with the will to take on ambitious new strategies for helping their students improve their achievement levels and increase their operational efficiency. Any savings generated through these transformations can be used by districts as they see fit, including to improve classroom instruction or make locally generated property tax revenues go further," according to the governor's website.