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Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

School Funding & EdChoice Presentation - Q & A Round 4

Feb. 10, 2020 -- The District is compiling and sharing answers to the approximately 80 questions submitted ahead of the January 9 public presentation on school funding. Eight questions and answers are provided here, and more will be addressed periodically in the coming days.
 
What are the annual operating expenses for Wiley and Millikin?
Utilities for Wiley calendar year 2019 were $223,445 (the building was in operation as a school for half of that year). Utilities for Millikin calendar year 2019 were $25,254.
 
Aren’t we supposed to educate all our, including special needs, if they need services elsewhere? I am bothered if they are being treated as the reason for our financial problems.
As a public school district, it is our mission and privilege to educate every student who comes to us regardless of circumstance. Any discussion of the cost is simply a caution that if one is comparing the budget between districts, then one has to also consider the number of special needs students in each district; these students require additional services and are therefore costlier to educate. Our financial problems are the result of an unconstitutional state funding system that overrelies on property taxes - and exacerbated by unfunded voucher deductions - not by educating our students with special needs.
 
Can you explain how spending tax dollars on a marketing survey for the levy doesn’t violate a law that appears to specifically prohibit this?
The CH-UH Board of Education has a responsibility to determine community awareness and attitude toward the school district before putting a levy on the ballot. The survey was not crafted or delivered in any way that would shape respondents’ opinions, or in a way to support or oppose a levy. Furthermore, the District utilized much of the questions in the survey to determine general community knowledge about our schools and what respondents feel should be prioritized in local public education. This information will help us in our upcoming strategic planning and furthering our mission of preparing all of our students for college and career. 
 
What is the avenue for voters to get their $8m of money back from this levy needed due to vouchers if /when vouchers are funded fully by the state?
It is highly unlikely vouchers will ever be fully funded by the state. If they were to assume responsibility for the cost of what is being deducted this school year from public schools, it would cost nearly $150 million. In the event we receive any relief whatsoever from the state, those funds would positively affect the timing and millage of future levies. We highly encourage our residents to contact their legislators and ask them to fix school funding and the unconstitutional overreliance on property taxes.
 
Superintendent Kirby shared with the public a cost of $14.4k per student in our district. Is that the actual amount of cash we spend per student?
Spending per pupil per the ODE District Profile Report is $21,222. ODE adjusts that number to account for special education population to allow for comparisons between districts, and that $14,404 is the spending per pupil reported on the ODE School Report Card.
 
Please discuss current enrollment numbers. Do these include students accepting vouchers?
As of January 10, 2020, we have 5,062 students in the District. These do not include students accepting vouchers.
 
If every student who used an EdChoice voucher decided to use open enrollment instead, would there be a difference to district finances?
Yes, we would lose even more money. Our state funding is frozen for the next two years. If every EdChoice voucher student became an open enrollment student, we would lose $6020 for every recipient regardless of grade level (versus losing $4,650 K-8 or $6,000 9-12 for EdChoice).
 
Where in the 5 year forecast can residents see the costs for the needed improvements to the elementary school required by phase 2 of the facilities?
The 5 year forecast is only for the general operating fund. Facilities improvements are paid from the Permanent Improvement Fund, which is separate and not a part of the current levy request.
 
Q & A Round 3 - January 29
Q & A Round 2 - January 21
Q & A Round 1 - January 16 
 

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