Gov. John Kasich's recently announced state budget proposal includes components related to education that were predictable in some cases and surprising in at least one instance.

When it comes to dollars and cents, "there's nothing in the budget proposal we weren't expecting," said Grandview Heights City School District Treasurer Beth Collier.

Under Kasich's plan, districts that have lost at least 5 percent of their enrollment over the past five years could see their funding cut by up to 5 percent.

"We have not experienced a decline of 5 percent or more -- it's been a very slight decline over the past five years -- so our level of per-pupil state aid will be flat," Collier said.

That figure would hover around $1.48 million for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. That is the same amount the district receives this year.

Grandview schools will lose all of its remaining tangible-personal-property-tax reimbursement in the new budget, Collier said.

Legislators voted in 2005 to phase out the tax, which was assessed on property used in business in Ohio.

A temporary hold-harmless provision was initiated to reimburse districts for TPP revenue they would have lost. The reimbursement was slated to end in the current biennial budget, but the Ohio legislature voted to continue it for two more years.

"Now we won't be getting that revenue anymore," Collier said.

Grandview received $846,154 in TPP reimbursements in 2015-16 and will receive about $750,000 in the current fiscal year, which ends in September.

Under Kasich's budget proposal, the reimbursement for districts will be zero starting next fiscal year.

"That would be about a 34 percent decrease in state funding when you look at per-pupil funding and TPP funding in total," Collier said.

"To be honest, I'm happy that it isn't any worse," she said.

For the current fiscal year, Grandview will receive about $3.6 million in total state funding, Collier said. That amount includes the TPP reimbursement, per-pupil state funding and a reimbursement districts receive for the homestead exemption, which lowers the tax bills of senior citizens.

That represents about 20 percent of the district's total revenue, she said. The district budget this year is about $18 million.

With the elimination of the TPP reimbursement, the district expects the amount of state funding it receives to drop to about $2.85 million, Collier said.

That will reduce the percentage of district revenue coming from state funding to about 16 percent.

"That will be a pretty significant dropoff," she said.

Collier said she anticipated the final elimination of the TPP reimbursement and included it in the latest five-year forecast she prepared.

The governor's budget proposal may well be revised before a final budget is approved, she said.

"We'll be monitoring the budget process to see if anything happens to change what we're expecting," Collier said.

Unanswered questions

The governor's budget proposal includes more than just dollar figures for education.

Kasich also has proposed that teachers be required to complete an externship with a local business or chamber of commerce to renew their licenses.

Teacher externships were among the recommendations forwarded last year by the governor's Executive Workforce Board.

The board also recommended that teachers' Individual Professional Development Plans include teacher externship experience.

The recommendations were included as part of the workforce board's proposals for addressing the lack of "work-based learning" opportunities for students.

Most teachers in Ohio renew their licenses every five years.

Grandview Heights Education Association President Kevin Richards said the externship proposal makes little sense to him.

"What's the reason for doing this and why is it being proposed as part of the state budget?" he asked.

"There seems to be a lot of unanswered questions about this proposal," Richards said.

One of the unknowns, he said, is whether it would apply to all teachers, even those who teach kindergarten or first grade.

"I'm not sure what's the point of having a kindergarten teacher go out on an externship at a business," Richards said. "It doesn't seem like it would be appropriate for every teacher teaching every grade level or subject."

The governor's proposal also doesn't provide any guidelines regarding whether the externships would be paid positions, how many hours a teacher would need to spend on the assignment or how they would be arranged, he said.

"There are a lot of professional development-type of activities that could be proposed that would be a lot more valuable for teachers and the impact they could have on their students than this," Richards said.

Superintendent Andy Culp said he trying to learn more about the externship proposal.

He said an externship may hold some value for certain teachers -- for example, one teaching a business class -- but added it should be up to local school boards and district officials to decide if their teachers should participate in such a program.

"It's the local school board who knows what's best and what's needed for the teachers in their home schools and community," Culp said.

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