Stow-Munroe Falls school funding to remain flat in Gov. Kasich's proposed budget

by Jeremy Nobile | Reporter Published:

The Stow-Munroe Falls City School District will neither lose nor gain funding under the reform plan proposed for school funding by Gov. John Kasich, according to his proposed biennium budget.

The Total Achievement Everywhere funding shows the SMF district received approximately $12.5 million for the 2013 fiscal year and will receive the same in 2014 based on an enrollment of 5,239 students.

That funding will remain flat, according to the proposed budget, much to the chagrin of school officials.

"The governor's budget guarantees the district will be funded during this biennium with the same amount of funds it is targeted to receive this school year (2013)," wrote SMF School Treasurer/CFO Catherine Bulgrin in a prepared response. "Unfortunately, the 2013 amount is less than the 2011 funding as it was reduced by approximately $2 million annually."

Bulgrin explained that the district formerly received a guaranteed $15 million in the 2011 and 2012 fiscal years, which is now closer to $13 million that comprises the guaranteed $12.5 million from the state plus money for transportation reimbursements and other adjustments for open-enrollment students.

Because the funding is lower than previous guarantees due to the annual $2 million reduction that began last school year, by the end of the 2014 school year, the district will have lost $6 million.

"That means the district continues to operate on a reduced budget," Bulgrin noted. 

Various unknown factors create other issues.

"Alarming to us is that the guaranteed amount is only for this biennium as it is targeted to phase out," Bulgrin emphasized, "but the governor was not clear when and how that would take place. Ultimately, this means the district must secure any needed additional resources from the local taxpayers."

Bulgrin clarified that a levy is not necessarily imminent, but is something that may need considered.

"As the district moves into the future, and in the event the district would need additional resources, an operational levy would have to be presented to taxpayers in order to secure additional revenue," she added.

The state also will provide additional "targeted assistance" to schools based on the income levels of their residents, meaning poorer districts would receive more state assistance than wealthier ones, according to the plan.

The SMF district is among six of the 17 school districts in Summit County that will not be receiving any additional funds from the state under the current proposed biennium budget -- it's also the second largest district behind the Akron City School district, which has more than 27,000 students and is poised to receive an additional $4.2 million in state aid.

This school funding plan is part of Kasich's proposed biennium budget bill and is subject to change before being adopted.

The full report on Achievement Everywhere funding estimates can viewed online at http://jobsbudget.ohio.gov/documents/Preliminary-District.pdf.

Email: jnobile@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400, ext. 4179

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