Tax revenues down: Schools to lose some state funding

Larry Limpf

With the pandemic taking a toll on the economy, Gov. Mike DeWine last week announced plans to balance the fiscal year 2020 state budget with $775 million in general revenue fund reductions, including reducing revenues for K-12 schools by $300.4 million.
Local districts and the amounts of their reduced funding are:
-Lake - $296,816
-Eastwood - $325,615
-Northwood - $144,861
-Gibsonburg - $147,815
-Woodmore - $198,679
-Genoa - $230,693
-Benton-Carroll-Salem- $360,720
-Oregon - $642,438
For the schools, the cuts average about $207 per student, with the highest, Benton-Carroll-Salem schools, to be cut by $251 per student and Oregon and Gibsonburg the lowest, $186 per student.
The Office of Budget and Management last week released preliminary April revenue data showing total general revenue fund tax receipts finished the month at $866.5 million, or 35.3 percent below the estimate.
The 2020 fiscal year ends June 30.
The bulk of the state’s revenue comes from income taxes and sales taxes, which reflect employment and
commercial activity.
April income tax revenues missed estimates by about 50 percent, or $636 million. Fiscal year-to-date income tax receipts are below estimates by about $676 million, a 9.2 percent drop.
Gov. DeWine has said he doesn’t intend to immediately tap into the state’s rainy day fund, which has a balance of about $2.7 billion.
The announcement of the cuts comes when many district administrations are preparing updates to their 5-year forecasts, said Jeff Carpenter, Lake treasurer.
“All we can do is work with what we know,” he said. “You can identify what might happen but to build that into a forecast is a problem.”
Cuts to higher education programs and other agencies were also included in the governor’s reduction plan.
State Senator Teresa Fedor, D-Toledo, was critical of the timing of the cuts to schools.
“Gov. DeWine’s decision to slash more than $300 million from Ohio’s K-12 funding is an alarming divestment from our public school system during a time when schools need more support than ever. Nearly half of the $775 million total in cuts to general revenue spending will be stripped from Ohio’s public schools, which continue to serve more than 90 percent of children in our state,” she said.
“Public schools have become lifelines to communities throughout the pandemic. With only a few days’ notice, educators found new ways to provide students with free meals, Wi-Fi hotspots and so much more. Our public schools are already being asked to do more with less and announcing these drastic cuts on Teacher Appreciation Day was a devastating blow to the professionals who are heroes to Ohio’s students.”


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