Highland County’s five public school districts would each lose state money next fiscal year to varying degrees under Gov. John Kasich’s proposed budget, with Bright Local taking the biggest hit by far.
But the Bright Local superintendent expressed confidence Tuesday that the final numbers won’t be as bad as they appear now.
Kasich said last week that his spending blueprint calls for a 1-percent annual increase over the next two years for the Ohio Department of Education, but his enrollment-based formula penalizes Highland County districts.
According to an analysis by various media outlets, including the Columbus Dispatch and the The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer:
• Bright Local goes from $5,827,040.36 this year to $5,557,214.01 next year, a loss of $269,826, amounting to a decrease of 4.6%.
• Fairfield Local goes from $7,882,143.54 this year to $7,877,638.44 next year, a loss of $4,505, or a decrease of 0.1%.
• Greenfield Exempted Village goes from $15,791,663.92 this year to $15,784,689.43 next year, a loss of $6,974, technically a 0% change.
• Hillsboro City Schools goes from $15,152,008.45 this year to $15,139,252.98 next year, a loss of $12,755, or a decrease by 0.1%.
• Lynchburg-Clay goes from $10,386,669.33 this year to $10,369,081.83 next year, a loss of $17,588, or a decrease of 0.2%.
The following year, FY19, would see another, albeit smaller, loss for Bright Local, which would lose another $22,880 under Kasich’s budget. The other districts would not suffer any additional losses.
Bright Local Supt. Ted Downing said Tuesday the budget “is only a proposal,” and “that’ll change between now and the summer.”
Downing said that Bright Local enrollment is actually up slightly. He said the large amount of farmland that comprises the district gives state officials a misleading notion of the amount of local property taxes collected by the district, leading to smaller share of state dollars.
Downing said the budget “is not life-threatening.”
“I’m not worried yet,” he said.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.