Dublin City Schools could face $14.5 million in cuts if the state budget plan is approved as proposed.

Dublin City Schools could face $14.5 million in cuts if the state budget plan is approved as proposed.

The Dublin school board unanimously passed a resolution April 25 to officially oppose the state budget proposal in its current form because of cuts to reimbursements in tangible personal property tax.

Ohio school districts receive four different types of state funding: school foundation payments, rollback and homestead exemption funds, tangible-personal-property-tax reimbursement (which offsets revenue previously derived from local commercial taxes on machinery, equipment and inventory) and utility deregulation. Though Dublin had anticipated reductions in its foundation payments, it didn't expect significant cuts to its reimbursement funds.

"As recently as eight or nine years ago, local businesses contributed as much as 40 percent of the district's revenues," Superintendent David Axner said. "In 2005, the state of Ohio replaced tangible personal property tax with the commercial activity tax, which went downtown into the general fund, so they reimbursed that money back to us."

According to the five-year forecast, Dublin City Schools would have received $10 million in TPPT reimbursements in fiscal year 2012 and again in FY 2013. In FY 2014, the district would have received $8.26 million.

As proposed, TPPT reimbursements will be phased out for Dublin City Schools by 2014 instead of 2020, as originally outlined in House Bill 66, resulting in a reduction of $8.6 million over the next two years. About 7 percent of the district's total budget currently comes from TPPT reimbursement, district treasurer Stephen Osborne said.

In addition, Dublin would see $3.6 million cut from foundation payments and a loss of $2.2 million in American Recovery & Reinvestment Act money.

The reduction could mean cuts to Dublin staffing and programs. The district already has cut $11.5 million from its budget since fiscal year 2007.

"The next phase is probably the ugly one," Axner said. "There's really not many other places to go than people. We continue at our central office to look at our certified positions, our classified positions, our administration. Across the board, we're looking at class size, which will have to change, electives procedures and spending."

The Ohio House of Representatives is expected to vote on the budget next week after reviewing the more than 100 amendments that have been proposed, Axner said.

"We'll see next week how that will affect the budget issues," he said.

The Senate plans to approve a version of the budget by the end of May, with a committee of House and Senate members likely approving a compromise plan by the end of June.

Axner, Osborne and school board president Lynn May plan to host a community forum on the budget impact at 7 p.m. May 11 at Dublin Coffman High School, 6780 Coffman Road. Area legislators are being invited to attend and speak during the meeting, Axner said.

"We hope that we get turnout from our staff and from our community," he said.

Axner and May encouraged Dublin residents to write or call their legislators to express their opinions on the budget.

"Hopefully, as this moves through the Senate, we'll see some major tweaks in regards to if there is going to be a phase-out, to stretch that out," Axner said.

Board members expressed frustration over the amount of the cuts proposed.

"I can't even begin to think where we're going to cut $14.5 million," board member Gwen Callender said.

May said the resolution against the proposed budget reaffirms the board's commitment to not return to local taxpayers to make up the difference.

"We only come to the community when we need money for growth and to maintain facilities and programs," she said.