School Superintendents Gather At Statehouse, Upset With Kasich Funding Plan

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Around 100 school superintendents were at the Ohio Statehouse Tuesday to raise concerns about governor John Kasich’s proposed budget.

Warren Local Superintendent Tom Gibbs said Kasich's rhetoric on school funding is not matching reality.

“We're actually going to see a decrease, whether the governor’s office is saying it's going to be level funding or not, Gibbs said.  “We're actually going to see a decrease and we can't sustain anymore decreases.”

Gibbs and others pointed to Kasich's claim last month that his budget would focus on poorer districts.

“A student who comes from a district that's poor, doesn't have the property value and doesn't have the income, is going to have a shot at the same quality education as a kid who comes from some of the richest districts in the state,” Kasich told 10TVs Jim Heath last month.

Gibbs says Kasich’s budget plan does not support rural and poor districts.

“The children have sacrificed.  We need to step up - educators, the administration and lawmakers together. And say we're going to bring some of these services back to kids with this economic upturn,” said Gibbs.

Kasich often points to Ohio’s growing economy and a jobless rate that is below the national average.

But Federal Hocking Superintendent George Wood said over 80 percent of rural and poor districts in Ohio will actually receive less funding.

“My district has cut over 40 employees. We've cut 10 bus routes.  We've kept the schools open by combining jobs, cutting programs.  We've eliminated cooks, janitors, we've got roofs we haven't repaired and we're making kids pay to play sports,” said Wood.

The poorer districts point to Olentangy, one of the wealthiest districts in the state, to make their point.

Olentangy’s budget this year is $4.5 million.  Under the Kasich plan, it jumps to $19 million next year which is a 331 percent increase.

“Olentangy schools have to put in a lot of levies to offer the services they offer.  I can't raise that kind of money in Morgan County,” said Superintendent Lori Snyder Lowe, Morgan Local Schools.

Officials in the Olentangy district counter that they’ve been cut over 40% in state funding since 2005.

One Republican lawmaker told 10TV that it is unlikely there will be significant changes to the school funding plan, at least for the coming year.

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