No school district would lose money under Ohio Senate's budget

 Article via: Patrick O'Donnell, The Plain Dealer, June 8, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Every school district in Ohio should receive at least as much money from the state for the next two years as they do now, Ohio Senate officials said today as they released their proposed state budget for the next two years.

Sen. Chris Widener, a Springfield Republican, said the new budget will "hold harmless" every district for the next two years, with none seeing a cut in money from the state compared to this school year's amount.

Along with many districts seeing increases, Widener said, at minimum "All schools essentially receive what they are receiving this year."

That's even including reductions in the complicated and much-debated reimbursements for the  now-defunct tangible personal property tax, Widener and Senate President Keith Faber said.
That reimbursement is a hot-button issue for many districts, including Solon, who have urged the state to continue the reimbursements permanently. The state ended that tax that many districts relied on in 2005 to reduce the tax burden on some businesses.

The Senate budget proposal is the latest step in the two-year budgeting process that has already had proposals from the House and from Gov. John Kasich. If the Senate version passes, leaders of the House and Senate will meet in conference committee later this month to find a compromise.
The budget that both houses of the legislature agree on will then go to Kasich for approval.
Our early look at the Senate spreadsheets of how each district is affected shows that 18 of Cuyahoga County's 31 districts will have little change - increases of less than one percent - by 2017.

Solon and Cleveland are among those 18, once state aid increases and decreased tangible personal property tax reimbursements are considered. A few will see sizeable increases in dollars of state aid per student. Garfield Heights and Maple Heights would receive about $800 more per student.
Overall, the 31 districts in Cuyahoga County would experience a 3.2 percent increase in state money over the next two years, from $760.2 million for the 2014-15 school year to $784.8 million in 2016-178.Money for the 579 districts in the other 87 counties would increase 8.6 percent from $6.67 billion to $7.24 billion.

Here are some other highlights of the plan, as portrayed by Senate leaders this morning:
  • Schools would receive $935 million more over the next two years than they do this year.: $351.5 million more for 2015-16, then continuing that increase and adding $233 million more in 2016-17.
  • More money would go to low-wealth districts and extra dollars are targeted at transportation and technology needs for rural districts.
  • Leaders envision eventually eliminating all tangible personal property tax reimbursements over time, despite claims from some districts that the state promised in 2005 to replace money they lost when that tax was halted.
  • The number of districts on the so-called guarantee will be reduced from 198 now to 100 by 2017. These are districts receiving more money now than the funding formula would give them. An unofficial "guarantee" that they will not see losses has the state giving them extra money beyond the formula to keep state aid flat.
  • The number of districts "on the cap" will drop from 238 now to 138 by 2017. These are districts who would receive even greater increases from the funding formula, but limits on how much increase a district can receive block them from receiving the full amount.

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