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Opinion

Manchester officials ask for funding adjustment

4/4/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

Many of us have benefited from a quality kindergarten to grade 12 public education school system. Our parents valued education and encouraged us to work to the best of our abilities in the public system. The result of our family belief in public schools supported by local communities and the state was the most prosperous country in the world with a standard of living envied by all others.

House Bill 59, Gov. Kasich’s new biennium budget, is a direct attack on public education.

The strategy is multifaceted. First, the budget provides additional funding to the nonpublic schools that are held to minimal standards in testing and learning. For Manchester Local School District, the state per pupil funding is $3,314.59 compared to $7,209.37 for the state per pupil funding for community schools. For all of Summit County, state funding for community schools is 457.50 percent greater than resident schools, providing $4,452.42 per pupil (Fiscal Year 2012). The governor’s proposal for the charter schools will receive $35 million more or a 4.5 percent increase while Manchester receives no increase.

Second, although the governor’s new budget proposal appears to maintain the present Manchester funding, an analysis of FY11, FY12 and FY13 of state aid and tangible tax funding shows a drastic reduction. FY11 funding was at $5,405,703; FY12 was at $4,931,752; and this year is $4,932,004. The governor is maintaining a state reduction of $473,699 in his new budget.

Third, this same budget provides guarantee funds of $362,908 in the FY14 biennium. The governor stated to the superintendents at the Jan. 31 meeting that we should prepare for the elimination of these guarantee funds. This amounts to an approximate 2.02 mills reduction for Manchester.

Fourth, the budget reduces the per pupil expenditure from Gov. Taft’s $5,732 per pupil to $5,000 per pupil.

The addition of no funding for bus replacements, inadequate funding for special needs children and the continued neglect of communities with low property wealth causes public school advocates to believe that the intent of this budget is to provide more funding for private schools while reducing learning opportunities for public school children.

As legislators review the Governor’s “Achievement Everywhere” program, we would hope that consideration will be given to communities like Manchester that have proven their commitment to the young through the passage of property taxes but are being penalized for living in a property poor area. More importantly, the future jobs and economy will not wait another 20 years for Ohio to provide equity in education for all students. As legislators require curriculum, testing and technology for public schools, it is time for their support of these new initiatives. At this point, the state government’s response to the Manchester community’s support of schools and students’ academic excellence is a $473,699 reduction of funds this school year with no additional support for the next two years.

We request that our representatives adjust the governor’s budget to provide equity for all of Ohio’s children.

Sam Reynolds, superintendent, and David Osborne, treasurer, Manchester Local School District

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