Saturday, June 09, 2007

A school funding spin

The Olentangy School District is spinning a tale about state funding of public schools. Keep in mind that state funding is simply your sales tax and income tax dollars. Asking the state for additional aid is a deceptive way to lift more dollars from your wallet.

The district has asked its residents to contact State Senator Harris regarding this issue. I have done so ...

Dear Senator Harris:

Along with a number of other fast growing districts, the Olentangy School District is looking for additional state funding due to its high growth rate. The district is claiming that the proposed budget does not provide sufficient funding to offset gains in student population. The district is encouraging its residents to send you emails and letters stating as much.

What the district fails to mention is that it continues to benefit from a state funding anomaly that occurred in FY05. In that year, the district was designated a Gap Aid district due to a combination of factors, resulting in an extra $1.1 million in state aid.

For fiscal years 06 and 07, the district benefited due to the transitional aid and reappraisal guarantees that continued state funding at the Gap Aid level. The benefit to the district over the three fiscal years 05-07 was approximately $2.6 million dollars in additional state aid.

The proposed budget also includes a no-loss-of-aid guarantee provision that will continue the current funding at the district's FY05 Gap Aid level. In total, the district stands to gain approximately $5.5 million more in state aid -- over the five year period covering FY05 through FY09 -- than it would have been provided if the aids and guarantees had not exist. In other words, the district received more aid than the funding formula would have provided without the aids and guarantees; regardless of student growth.

No funding issue exists with regard to the district's growth in student population.

It is disingenuous for the district to claim that it are being harmed by the proposed budget when, in fact, it continues to benefit from it's previous Gap Aid designation and the guarantee contained in the proposed budget.

I personally do not support this effort from the district. I also do not appreciate the spin that the district is directing towards its residence.

Please do not support this proposed change to the budget.


Jim Fedako

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