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Friday, February 17, 2017

Kasich Budget cuts 276 Ohio Districts' Transportation Funding

When Gov. John Kasich's budget came out last month, one of the first things we noticed was that transportation was being cut substantially. What we didn't know was how. Well, now the bill's language and the Ohio Legislative Service Commission's Bill Analysis are out and we now know how. Essentially, the Kasich budget calls for districts that needed more transportation funding than the state's formula allowed will now have to do with less -- in some cases much less -- under the budget's formulation.

Under current law, Ohio's school districts receive something called a "State Share Index" that is multiplied to a district's aid package to accommodate the district's ability to raise money given its citizens' income. It's more complicated than that, but that's the nutshell. Under current law, everything a district gets from the state is multiplied by this factor as an attempt to approximate the educational and local property tax challenges in each community.

Except for transportation. Under current law, the state says a district can get the greater of a 50% multiplier or their State Share Index (which can be as high as 90%). Next year, Kasich proposes to drop that 50% to 37.5%, further dropping it to 25% by the 2018-2019 school year.

That means districts whose State Share Indices were under 50% but greater than 37.5% will see substantial transportation funding cuts next year. That's about 200 districts and includes bigger cities like Canton and Cincinnati as well as Appalachian districts like Northern Local in Perry County -- the district that sued the state and won over its unconstitutional school funding system.

The following year, another 76 districts will be cut as the funding guarantee drops to 25%.

Transportation is an incredible challenge for districts. Losing state support for it can be devastating as children are forced to walk for miles to school during Ohio winters, or parents are forced to re-arrange work schedules to drive them.

Choosing to cut transportation funding to districts whose students desperately need it while the state chooses to cut $3.1 billion in income taxes, mostly for wealthy people, is a sad outcome for this proud and great state.

Our kids and communities deserve better.

Here is the list of districts that are set to see transportation cuts, arranged by county and district name. Sorry it's hard to read. But there are a bunch.


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