May 12, 2020 -- On May 5, Governor Mike DeWine announced a $775 million reduction in state spending for the remainder of fiscal year 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of this, $300 million are in cuts to state funding for Ohio’s schools. According to the Office of Budget and Management, the CH-UH City School District will shoulder $1.4 million of those cuts.
This $1.4 million is in addition to the $7.2 million in EdChoice losses the District endured this year. This means CH-UH students will not receive a total of $8.6 million out of the District’s $21 million in state funding -- or 41% of their state funding.
“Our district is ‘ground zero’ for losses due to the way EdChoice scholarships are funded, and this cut exacerbates our challenge. It should also be noted that the number of students in that deduction calculation includes our 1,416 EdChoice voucher students, so $300,000 of that $1.4 million deduction is for students who aren't even enrolled in our schools,” said Superintendent Liz Kirby.
The District will presumably receive $1.2 million in federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) stimulus funding, which does not completely cover the $1.4 million loss. The District should be receiving $1.9 million in CARES funds, but $700,000 has been allocated to private/parochial schools in CH-UH. These concerns are outlined by the Ohio 8 Coalition, an alliance of Ohio’s urban school district superintendents and union representatives, in a press release.
“We should be using the CARES stimulus funding to address the online learning challenges that we’re facing as a result of this pandemic, but instead we will have to use it to cover a state budget shortfall,” said Kirby.
The CH-UH City School District is now asking Ohio lawmakers and elected officials to:
- Immediately adjust our state cut from $1.4 million to $1.1 million to account for the $300,000 that was deducted as a result of EdChoice scholarship students being counted in our enrollment for the purposes of these cuts.
- Advocate for CH-UH to keep all of the designated CARES Act funding that we are expected to receive, as opposed to distributing $700,000 of that amount to non-public schools.
- Ensure that EdChoice scholarship students are not included in our ADM (Average Daily Membership) when funding cut decisions are made for FY21.
- Advocate for a reduction of voucher payments for next year if the state continues to deduct these from our public school budget instead of funding vouchers directly.
- Advocate for changing the formula used to determine state funding and cuts.
“Thankfully, we’ve already made $2.5 million in budget reductions for next year in order to conservatively plan for our financial future,” said Superintendent Kirby. “But we cannot keep tolerating additional losses without major impacts on our students and strategic planning.”
We encourage our stakeholders to contact the following officials with the above requests: