HB 920: Understanding School Funding
No matter where you live in Ohio, regardless of whether or not you have children or whether or not they attend public schools, you will be asked to vote periodically on a local school levy. You might as well understand why.
House Bill 920, the Ohio law that outlines how public schools are funded, is complex and confusing. But it has a huge impact on all of us.
Public School Funding Primer
In each Ohio K-12 school district the public schools must place a ballot issue before the voters every several years to support public school education. Ohio citizens need to understand why these levy issues are repeatedly on the ballot. They also need to understand that the districts are not being spendthrifts nor are they necessarily wasting money. The Ohio state laws require these repeated ballot issues to fund public education.
History of Ohio Public School Funding
Public school funding in Ohio is financed from three main sources:
- A small amount comes from the federal government;
- The state gives each school district some money, and
- The largest share comes from local sources in every district.
The most complicated is the state share. Primary and secondary education is one of the largest expenditures in the Ohio state legislative budget. A complex primer on the system of funding of Ohio’s Public Education system would take too long but an overview of the public school funding scenario is necessary for understanding the continuing levy demands Ohio school boards must make on their residents.
BOE Officially Puts Operating Levy on November 2016 Ballot
June 10, 2016 --
At their June 7 meeting, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education officially placed a 5.5-mill operating levy on the November 2016 ballot, after hearing the second of two required public readings of the levy resolution.
This levy is the smallest operating levy request for at least 20 years. In order to keep the levy request as small as possible, the district has consistently reduced expenses and sought to economize operations. In Fiscal Year 2016, the district made more than $5 million in annual budget cuts. Already in Fiscal Year 2017, the district has cut more than $3.25 million from its annual budget through staffing reductions.
The first reading of the levy resolution came at the Board's May 17 work session.
BOE Takes First Step Toward November 2016 Operating Levy
May 18, 2016 -- At its May 18 work session, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education took the first steps toward placing an operating levy on the November 2016 ballot.
The levy proposed for this November would be 5.5 mills, which would produce approximately $5.8 million per year for school operations. This amount was reviewed and recommended by the Lay Finance Committee, a group of expert community members who reported their findings to the Board at Tuesday’s meeting.
The proposed levy would be the district’s smallest operating levy request in at least 20 years.