An Ohio House of Representatives budget proposal could lead to millions of dollars in additional state funding per year for the Olentangy Local School District.

An Ohio House of Representatives budget proposal could lead to millions of dollars in additional state funding per year for the Olentangy Local School District.

Under Gov. John Kasich's biennial budget plan, released in February, Olentangy state funding was set to grow from about $9 million in 2015 to about $10 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017. Under the House plan, announced last week, the district's state funding instead would grow to $15.4 million in 2016 and $16 million in 2017.

Olentangy Treasurer Brian Kern said district officials are "very thankful to have any increase" in funding, but noted that planned increases had not been delivered in the past.

"We're not counting (the money) until the governor signs off on the budget," he said.

For more than a year, district officials and residents have been pushing the legislature for an increase in state funding. Specifically, the district wants its funding to at least be even with state funding per student to nonpublic auxiliary schools: $1,147.

Olentangy currently receives closer to $500 in annual per-pupil funding from the state. Kern said district officials see this imbalance as unfair to its residents.

"We're not advocating taking (funding) away from anyone else," Kern added.

The House's proposal includes an amendment from state Rep. Andrew Brenner (R-Powell) that would help shrink the difference in funding between Olentangy and nonpublic auxiliary schools.

Brenner's amendment calls for all districts in Ohio to receive at least half of the state funding level per pupil that nonpublic schools receive.

Brenner said it's a political reality that taxpayers in wealthy districts such as Olentangy will help support less-affluent districts, but he said the current arrangement is unfair.

"We pretty much cover the cost of everything we do here, and we send money to the Statehouse and it goes to other school districts, too," he said.

Kern said currently the district sees only about 4 cents for every dollar its residents pay in state income tax. He said that has led to Olentangy becoming more reliant on property-tax levies than other districts.

"To us, it's a fairness issue," he said.

Kern said the boost in funding in the House's plan could help the district extend its current levy. Olentangy officials previously have said the district expects to stay off the ballot at least until the end of the 2015-16 school year.

Delaware City Schools would see about a 5 percent increase in state funding over the next two years under the House proposal. Big Walnut and Buckeye Valley schools' funding would remain at current levels.

If the idea of setting a floor for state funding sticks, however, Brenner said his amendment could be beneficial to those districts in the future as they grow. He said development plans within the Big Walnut district indicate it could be the next wealthy, growing district to be negatively affected by caps on state funding.

"I think they're going to see a population boom similar to Olentangy," he said.