Kasich's Budget Eliminates $4.4 Million For Avon Lake Schools

"Wealthier" districts see funding slashed from preliminary budget.

The Avon Lake School District, long regarded as a “wealthy” district, may have some serious financial decisions to make if Gov. John Kasich’s budget is approved. Numbers released on March 27 indicate the district could lose $4.4 million of state funding in the next two years. For the 2010-11 fiscal year, the district received $7.2 million in state funding.

Although Superintendent of Schools Bob Scott said some information about how dire the numbers were had been previously leaked, the information received Tuesday was startling.

“We’re hoping some sanity comes out of it,” Scott said.

Kasich's proposed budget must be set by June 30 and still needs to go through the state House and Senate before being approved. Scott is hoping the final funding cut isn’t as severe as initially proposed.

Scott said he has been to previous talks given by the Ohio Office of Budget and Management's  State Foundation representatives who indicated more money would be distributed than actually was.

“I’m listening to this thinking, ‘At least be straight about it,’” Scott said. “We’re trying to plan for next year.”

District-wide, the situation could be worse. Scott said that because of the recession, the district has maintained a tight budget and may not have to make as severe adjustments.

“We’ve been planning for this because of the economy,” Scott said. “We’ve been cautious about our expenditures, how we’re spending money. Because we’ve been so conservative, we don’t have to immediately tear things apart. We have a good fund balance.”

According to the school’s October 2010 5-year forecast, the 2010 revenues are $37 million and expenditures are $38.38 million.  The forecast for 2011 and 2012 revenues are $35.11 million and $32.46 million, respectively, with expenditures of $38.87 million and $41.26 million, respectively. The district maintains a current balance of $13 million which will decrease with each year’s progression.

Click here to see Avon Lake School District's 5-year forecast.

Scott said some of the cuts were not a surprise.

“We knew we were easy pickings,” he said. “It’s easy to say we’re going to take away from the wealthy school districts.”

The district will now wait until the state budget is finalized before making some decisions. Other decisions, such as adding new teachers to the district, are probable.

“First thing we’re going to have to do is back out adding new teachers.,” Scott said.

 Earlier this week, the Office of Budget and Management released a letter saying next year's school fund distribution plan was a “bridge.

 “Over the next year, the administration will develop a new approach to state support of education,” the letter said. “In the interim, a bridge formula will allocate state foundation funding to school districts based on a district’s reliance on state support for education as measured by its property valuation per pupil and the number of students who reside within a district.”

Bonnie Tallaksen April 01, 2011 at 09:10 PM
This is so incredibly short sighted by this governor. He is projecting to cut the education budget by 2/3. The reason why we have such a large student body is because we are consistently rated as one of the top school systems in the state, as well as the nation. We have a fiscally responsible superintendent, which is why we have a surplus in the budget right now. How is the school district supposed to keep up with an ever increasing population if we can't even hire new teachers because of these budget cuts?
Bill Conners April 05, 2011 at 04:21 PM
"fiscally responsible superintendent" Really you can say that with a straight face? After they grouped a new school bus building levy with revamping the football field! That was politics at the worst to guarantee it was voted in. Academics does not equal athletics.
Bill David April 21, 2011 at 02:18 PM
I have to start out by saying that I am a supporter of Gov. Kasich. I realize he has a VERY difficult job ahead of him with Ohio having a huge 8 Billion dollar deficit. Serious cuts will have to be made. I have to say though I disagree with him on this issue. Ms. Barry hit the nail on the head in the previous comment when she brought up the Robin Hood logic. If you follow party politics and their philosophies at all one could say this is something we would expect from the democrats and their ever constant "rob Peter to pay Paul" approach. It seems as though this type of action will likely drag an overachieving school district like Avon Lake down. If cuts are to be made they should be evenly and across the board. This is the only fair way to do it. Why should cities like Avon Lake, Bay Village, Rocky River etc be punished for supporting levies and truly caring for their schools. I am a believer that a city is only as good as its school district so let's reward the good ones and not take from them. This has to be looked at again and a change in this plan needs to be considered.
william April 21, 2011 at 06:45 PM
The 2005 income tax reductions reduced the state income tax by 21%, costing the state more than $2 billion per year. While state leaders argued that the tax cuts would help economic development and put more money in the pockets of state residents, and help the state economy. Ask yourself, has this idea really helped the state ? I wonder how many people realized the stae income tax has been cut by 21% since 2005. Have you noticed it in your monthly budget? Just a few questions to ask yourself.


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