Sunday, April 22, 2007

Rep. Dyer to Speak on School Funding Tomorrow Night

Rep. Steve Dyer (D-Green) will be hosting a town hall meeting at Springfield High School tomorrow to talk about the upcoming school levy vote in the context of Ohio's school funding system. Joining him will be Tom Ash, Governmental Relations Director of the Buckeye Association of School Administrators.

Springfield is one of those districts that is cut to the bone, running out of money and can't get a school levy passed. In other words, the sort of district most adversely affected by the General Assembly shifting funding responsibility back onto local districts over the past few budget cycles.

Rep. Dyer ran on school funding and has some out-of-the-box ideas, so it will be interesting to hear what he has to say.

Details:
7 p.m.
Monday, April 23
Springfield H.S.
2966 Sanitarium Road, Akron

4 comments:

mikee said...

"Cut to the bone"???? Yet another example that you either don't know what you're talking about or you purposely spread misinformation in the hope that people will just swallow it down.

Springfield Enrollment 10 years ago: 3,274
Springfield Enrollment Now: 2,895

State Funding Per Pupil 10 years ago: $2,195
State Funding Per Pupil Now: $3,340

Total Springfield Spending Per Pupil 10 years ago: $5,840
Total Springfield Spending Per Pupil Now: $9,721

Again, what cutbacks? I can't wait to go to this event and watch Steve Dyer explain why Ted Strickland's propsoed budget contains a ZERO PERCENT increase for Springfield Schools. ZERO. NADA. NOTHING.

Looks like they were better off with the Republicans.

Pho said...

Mikee:

Try to make one point at a time. Is the problem with Springfield schools that they spend too much money or that they don't have enough? Should they be making more cuts or should they getting more money from the state?

Springfield, like many other districts, gets zero increase because if the state followed the formula -- even with increases in per pupil aid and poverty based assistance -- the state aid would have gone down. Springfield's problem is that their enrollment is decreasing -- as you have pointed out.

It's extemely difficult to right size a shrinking district. This is also the biggest challenge faced by Akron, though there are maybe things are evening out for us.

A quick Google search will show that Springfield has indeed made cuts -- 1000 kids cut out of busing, an innovative all-day all-K school closed, pay-to-play sports and lots of layoffs. Check out here and here. Please show me the respect of Googling an issue before telling me I don't know what I'm talking about. You can quibble with the level of the cuts, but cuts, yes, have been made and will continue.

As for your numbers, understand a few things. First, the state increased aid to schools when under order from the Supreme Court, but started rolling back the gains as soon as the Court relinquished jurisdiction. Springfield is on the doorstep of Fiscal Emergency in part because of the pull backs over the past two budget cycles. Comparing ten years ago -- when nearly everyone agrees that schools were underfunded -- with now paints a distorted picture.

Second, a part of the state funding is the temporary hold-harmless from eliminating taxes on tangible business property. That hold harmless starts decreasing in two years. To stay out of fiscal caution, school districts have to show a balanced budget for the next five years -- even as costs increase, millage income remain essentially the same and the state share will decrease if property values are increasing.

I understand that school funding is complex and nuanced. That's why I spend so much time trying to explain it to people. Nearly everything you raise has been answered in one previous post or another.

I am perfectly capable of making huge mistakes and I learn something new about this issue every day. But don't presume that you can roll in here and just spray some numbers around and I'll run and hide.

Cee Jay said...

Mikee, a lot has changed in ten years. Some of the largest expenses schools have are transportation and heating and cooling costs and paying for staff. A big part of the increased costs for staff is health insurance. So, where has inflation taken its biggest toll?
Fuel and health care costs maybe? Then there are all the unfunded mandates that have been passed by the federal and state legislatures but left to local districts to pay for like remedial help for students who cannot pass the proficiency tests, inclusion support for special education students, etc.
The problem with districts that are losing enrollment is that it still costs the same amount to heat and cool the buildings (old one's that are not fuel efficient)and the buses still have to pick students up throughout the district even if there are fewer students on each bus. If you close some schools, you increase the costs of transportation.

Anonymous said...

Unfunded mandates cee jay? A school's budget is almost 80% salaries and benefits!!!!WHO NEGOTIATES THAT 80% OF THE BUDGET???? THE LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD!!!

GIVE ME A BREAK!!!