By KATHRYNE RUBRIGHT
Findlay and Van Buren school districts would receive more state funding under Gov. John Kasich’s proposed budget, while the other seven districts in Hancock County would see funding decrease.
Findlay would receive $79,524 (0.4 percent) more in the 2018 fiscal year, followed by a further increase of $30,050 (0.1 percent) in 2019, according to funding simulations from state Office of Budget and Management.
Van Buren’s funding would go up by $45,307 (5.2 percent) in 2018 and an additional $45,143 (4.9 percent) in 2019.
Under Kasich’s proposal, districts whose enrollment has decreased by 5 percent or more since the 2011 fiscal year could lose up to 5 percent of their state funding.
Other funding factors include property value and the income of a district’s residents.
Findlay Treasurer Mike Barnhart was not impressed with the potential increase.
“I’m greatly disappointed, given the size of our district,” he said, noting that the 2018 increase “hardly covers the salary and benefits of one teacher.”
State budgets do change from the original proposals, he said, but “usually not for the better.”
“I’m disappointed and unfortunately I don’t feel too optimistic,” Barnhart said.
The district has been underfunded for years as expenses increased, he said.
“We’ve got to once again rely on our local taxpayers and controlling the expense side of things,” Barnhart said.
He also expressed frustration with losing funds to charter schools when students choose those options over the school district. Those schools don’t have to put levies on the ballot or ask for money, “they just get it handed to them,” he said.
“It’s a little bit unfair competition, because we don’t have the lobbying budget, nor the advertising budget that these other places have,” Barnhart said.
Under the proposed budget, Arlington would receive $87,106 (2.6 percent) less in 2018 and another $20,898 (0.6 percent) less in 2019.
That could be due to decreased enrollment, Treasurer Becky Gerschutz said, but explanations were not released with the funding simulations.
“At this point we don’t have a whole lot of information,” she said.
Gerschutz said the decrease is “not a large a percentage, which was fortunate.” But, she added, “any loss in income needs to be reviewed.” The district’s enrollment has gone down 10 percent since 2011, according to the Office of Budget and Management.
McComb’s enrollment has dropped 7.4 percent since then. The state would provide McComb with $113,002 (2.5 percent) less in 2018, with no additional cut in 2019.
Like Gerschutz, Treasurer Linda Clymer said she couldn’t be sure of the reason for the decrease.
“That is a pretty big impact,” she said, but she noted it’s a proposal and “things might change.”
Arcadia would lose $113,882 (5.5 percent) in 2018, under the proposal, with funding remaining flat in 2019.
Four districts would see decreases of less than $10,000: $6,137 (0.1 percent) for Liberty-Benton, $4,425 (0.1 percent) for Riverdale, $1,383 (0.04 percent) for Cory-Rawson and $786 (0.05 percent) for Vanlue. Each cut would come in 2018, with no additional drop in 2019.