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Nearly all Ohio school districts face cuts

By John Published: March 26, 2011

From staff and wire reports

All but 14 of Ohio's 611 school districts will receive less state support over the next two years, according to numbers obtained from Gov. John Kasich's Office of Budget and Management by a Democrat-backed organization.

InnovationOhio, formed this year as an issues advocacy group and headed by former Gov. Ted Strickland's deputy chief of staff, requested the numbers to show that the spreadsheets released by Kasich's office Thursday were incomplete and misleading.

The organization said the Office of Budget and Management's district-by-district calculations ''flatly contradict'' Kasich's stance that his budget delivers increases to more than 400 districts.

A Beacon Journal analysis — of both the Kasich and OBM numbers — shows that many of the biggest losers will be in the Akron-Canton-Cleveland area.

Among the 25 biggest percentage losers of state support are communities with large concentrations of commercial or industrial property, including Copley-Fairlawn, Revere, Jackson and Nordonia Hills.

High-wealth districts lose the largest percentages because Kasich's plan moves money from wealthy districts to poorer wealth, and because wealthy districts also lose the most reimbursement for the loss of tangible personal property and utility property taxes.

But major cities — rich and poor — take a hit on the dollar amounts, according to the new spreadsheets. Among the biggest dollar losers are Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Parma and Medina. The Office of Budget and Man
agement numbers include $457.5 million in federal stimulus dollars that are to be distributed this year, plus $1.2 billion and $91 million in reimbursements for lost revenue because of the elimination of taxes on personal tangible property and certain utility property, respectively.

Former state Rep. Stephen Dyer, D-Green, who was a co-author of Strickland's funding formula and is consulting for InnovationOhio, said the Office of Budget and Management provided the numbers and InnovationOhio calculated the totals and changes.

The Beacon Journal matched property values with the lost revenue to determine what size levies local voters would have to approve to make up for the reduction in state assistance.

The three districts that would have to pass the largest levies — all in excess of 16 mills — are among the state's poorest in terms of property wealth and household income: Windham in Portage County, Trimble in Athens County and Southern Local in Perry County.

Coincidentally, Trimble and Southern were among the districts that sued the state in 1991, resulting in the landmarkDeRolph school-funding case in which the Ohio Supreme Court declared Ohio's method of funding schools to be unconstitutional.

One of the court's findings was that districts such as Trimble and Southern would have to pass extraordinary property tax levies to provide a basic education that is easily afforded in property rich districts.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.



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