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Governor Kasich Budget Proposals For Education Has Winners And Losers

Ohio Governor John Kasich unveils the state budget on January 30, 2017.
Dan Konik
Ohio Governor John Kasich unveils the state budget on January 30, 2017.

Governor Kasich’s proposed two-year budget would give a slight increase for K-12 schools in Ohio while freezing tuition for state universities. The proposals faced immediate opposition.

The Ohio School Boards Association complains that while the budget represents an increase, education funding has not kept up with inflation over the past six years. But the conservative Buckeye Institute says that funding for education should be flat arguing that districts should have planned for the phase out of some property tax revenues like the tangible personable property tax.

While unveiling his budget Kasich repeated his call that local school boards should include three non-voting business people.

“It’s because businesspeople from the outside who don’t have to stand for election or anything else can disrupt, in some sense, the type of curriculum that’s taught in the schools.

Higher education funding gets a one percent hike but public universities would have to pay half the costs of textbooks for their students. Chancellor John Carey estimated textbook costs per year for students has reached $600. Schools could recoup that money through tuition.

Kasich has named a task force to visit each campus and look for ways to make spending cuts.

He said don’t be surprised “..if we require the condensing of certain colleges with others so we can save money by consolidating school operations.”

Kasich’s budget would also lower the state transportation subsidy for well-off schools in order to provide more funding to poor districts.

Other districts that have been losing students to charter schools, private schools, or migration may also get less. Budget Director Tim Keen says the state will start to reduce payments to schools when they experience a five percent loss in pupils.

“Some suggest that if you just lose a couple students you can’t make changes – I’m not sure I believe that but people say that. So we try to be cognizant of that concern and we picked a level – 5%- where certainly there ought to be cost savings that could be obtained if your population drops by that much.”

Funding losses would be tied to how large the reduction of students is but the drop would be capped at five percent.