Friday, September 6, 2013


Information just became available for Ohio schools as to what they can expect in state funding for School Year 2013/2014.

Stark County schools seemed to have faired pretty well.  That's the good news.

A SCPR examination of state data files show that overall Stark gains 13.67 million over the 2012-2013 school funding for the 2013-2014 school year.

Stark's urban school districts fared best.

Canton City gets $3.97 million more, Plain - $1.46, Alliance - $1.46, Massillon $1.06 to complete the million dollars or more "collection of urban districts."

Stark's wealthiest school district, Jackson, on a relative scale of size of student population served compared to other Stark County districts, did the poorest of all districts (even those that netted revenue losses from 2012/13 to 2013/14) in its 2013/2014 allocation of state funding.  At $299,797, Jackson, comes in fifth lowest among Stark's 17 districts in terms of increased/decreased funding from the state capitol.

Only Tuslaw, Northwest, Osnaburg and Louisville did worse than Jackson and, of course, they are much, much smaller than Jackson.

So all-in-all Stark Countians, it seems to the SCPR, should be applauding the Stark County delegation to the Ohio General Assembly.  Especially, the Republicans.

It is somewhat amazing that they have protected Stark's school districts while at the same time participating in a virtual dismantling of local government funding out of state revenues.

Their failure to protect Stark village, city and township government funding has many of Stark's local government entities desperately seeking support from their local taxpayer base.

In all, there of 15 local government requests for local funding between new, replacement and renewal levies.

In addition to severely cutting local government funding (e.g. Ohio's Local Government Fund; eliminating the Ohio Estate Tax, personal property tax and utility tax [all of which went at least in part to fund local governments], they [the Republicans in the GOP controlled Legislature] made it more difficult to pass "new" revenue [i.e. Increases and replacement levies] by eliminating the 10% and 2-1/2% state reimbursement of the senior citizen tax reduction and owner occupied tax reduction.

In light of their pummeling of local government funding, it seems a bit incongruent for the Legislature to have, for the most part statewide, increased revenues to local school districts for the 2013 - 2014 school year.

But there is some "bad news" in the 2013/14 funding numbers.

Stark County's public schools lose about $14 million in funding to charter schools in school year 2013 - 2014.  An increase of about $550,000 over 2012 - 2013.

It sounds like "good news" that Stark's districts picked up $13.67 million in new funding in 2013 - 2014, but is it?

Look at the chart above and see the $14.1 million in losses in public school funding to charter schools. 

Still think the $13.67 million is all that much of "good news?"

As with local non-school-governments, Stark County does have a number of school districts that have issues on November's ballot.  So that has to be some indication that notwithstanding the net-out "treading water-esque" state funding of education; Stark's schools are still far from being in good financial shape.

Lake Local had filed for a property tax increase for this year's general election, but withdrew it in light of the state's $886,000 increase for 2013/14.  Officials have been quoted in local media as saying that the increase enabled them to put off the tax issue for perhaps as many as many as two years.

No doubt the $886,000 is a help.  However, the SCPR thinks the "real" reason Lake opted out had more to do with the issue having very little chance of passage.  

Lake has had a series of school construction bond issues go down to defeat over the last several years.

For those SCPR readers who want the full picture of state funding of Stark County schools, here is the full chart The Report compiled and from which extracts were published above.

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