Schools Across State Starving in Face of Historically Deep Budget Cuts

As the Ohio House Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education prepares to meet tonight at Lima High School, 1 Spartan Way in Lima at 6pm, State Rep. Matt Lundy (D- Elyria) highlighted the need to put our kids and communities first as they face financial crisis.

Ohio school districts are projecting huge deficits because of $1.4 billion in cuts to education in the state’s operating budget, which passed along party lines.  Schools in Allen County were cut a total of more than $11 million for fiscal years 2012-13 when compared to 2011, including $2.39 million from Lima City Schools and nearly $2 million from Shawnee Local School. Districts across the state are left to struggle with the best way to prepare children for the future with larger class sizes, fewer music and art programs, costly extra-curricular activities and limited or no busing. 

“Rather than addressing the brewing financial crisis facing communities like Lima, where the city schools face a projected deficit of $1.24 million dollars for fiscal year 2013 and more than $3 million for fiscal year 2014, Republicans have decimated school funding.  Schools across the state struggle to cope with unfunded mandates, large class sizes and few teachers in the classroom,” said Rep. Lundy.

House Bill 30 dismantled education reforms set in place by Democrats taking apart key provisions like all-day kindergarten, and it removed the Evidence Based Model for education, returning us to an unconstitutional funding system that is overly reliant on property taxes, while we wait for Gov. Kasich to introduce his own plan, and hold hearings around the state nearly two years later.

“It’s been 15 years since the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that our school funding system is unconstitutional because it relies too heavily on local property tax,” said State Rep. Matt Lundy. “Today, as schools face tough decisions this reliance is only growing, and rather than finding long-term solutions that benefit our students legislators like Rep. Matt Huffman propose taking more money away form public education (HB 136) and handing it to unaccountable for-profit charter schools.”

35 school districts asked citizens to pass levies, increasing their local property taxes, during special elections just last week, with the overwhelming majority of them failing. While school districts across the state are facing a combined school-funding deficit of over $1.79 billion in fiscal year 2014. This is based on a calculation of each school district’s five-year projection of finances, which is required to be submitted to the Ohio Department of Education. Policy Matters Ohio also estimates that school districts in “Fiscal Watch” or “Fiscal Emergency” could spike by 300 percent this year, from 14 to 43.

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