Students across Northeast Ohio will see enhanced efforts to address their overall well-being over the next two years thanks to additional funding in the state's recently approved biennial budget.
The funds are designed to help high-poverty rural districts support students' needs, said Akron Public Schools Treasurer Ryan Pendleton. But several urban and suburban districts stand to benefit as well, with every district in the state seeing at least some additional money for what's known as "wraparound services," which address students' nonacademic needs. Some districts also saw small amounts of additional money due to increasing enrollments.
Every district is receiving a slice of a $250 million pie for wraparound services from the state next year.
Akron, which last school year received about $160 million in total funding from the state, will receive $5 million more next year. The next year, that money will carry over, plus another $2 million.
"It is a meaningful investment," Pendleton said. "There is definite need."
The money, he said, will be used mostly to support existing programs that support students, addressing areas like mental health and homelessness. The district also has community liaisons to support families and provides cultural competency training for staff, two initiatives that could see boosts from the funds.
Because the funding is only guaranteed for two years, however, the district doesn't want to create too many new programs that would rely on just these dollars, Pendleton said.
The concern stems from the legislature delaying a decision on how to revamp the state's school funding formula.
"I’m very concerned that if we don’t address the formula, these funds could come and go, and they have in the past," Pendleton said.
The legislature opted to make the formula a separate issue from the state budget, creating House Bill 305, which has yet to have hearings.
Each time the state opts to put more money into education, Pendleton said, lawmakers have to decide how to divide it up equitably. This time, he said, they used poverty rates and property valuations.
All together, the 17 districts in Summit County will see about $9.16 million more next year, from Akron's $5 million to the Manchester Local School District's $44,000. After Akron, Barberton City Schools will see the biggest dollar increase. The district usually receives about $28 million and will add about $900,000 to that next year.
The Cuyahoga Falls City School District receives about $15 million in state funding and will get an additional $430,000 next year. The Springfield Local School District will bring in an extra $457,000 on top of its $8.6 million allocation.
The Tallmadge City School District, which receives about $7.7 million a year, will see an extra $325,000. Woodridge Local Schools will receive just under $300,000 in additional funding.
In Stark County, the Canton City School District receives $83 million in state funding and will get about $2 million more to support students next year.
In Portage County, the Kent City School District, which receives $15.5 million each year, will see that number go up by nearly $700,000 next year.
Contact Jennifer Pignolet at email@example.com, at 330-996-3216 or on Twitter @JenPignolet.