Recently, Governor Kasich unveiled his general plans for school funding as part of the overall biennium budget. It is important to remember that this is the beginning of a very lengthy legislative process that ultimately involves the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate before being signed by the governor in June. Rarely do bills look just as they did when they were introduced and that is likely the case with the state budget proposal.
Hilliard City Schools has been deeply affected by previous state budgets. We will closely watch and be actively involved in this process to make sure our residents’ voices are heard downtown. Our interest is in protecting the few precious dollars from the state that we receive. Here’s why this is important.
First, the state has cut funding to our schools in previous budgets. In fact, today Hilliard City Schools receives less state financial aid than it did in 2006. However, that funding has not kept pace with our increase in student enrollment. Since 2006, we have added nearly 1,000 students.
Second, we will continue to watch the Tangible Personal Property Tax (TPP) reimbursement. During the 2011 budget, Hilliard City Schools TPP funding was cut in half. This means an annual loss of $6 million for this year and each future year as well. While the governor’s proposal has these funds staying at current levels, we remain watchful, since there is still a long way to go before the budget is finalized.
Third, Hilliard City Schools has been proactive in offsetting these losses. We have cut more than $19.6 million from our budget since 2008. This includes pay freezes and higher health care contributions for staff members. We have reduced, cut and trimmed where possible and continue to seek out and implement cost effective operations. We are also thankful for the support of our community that understood the good value our schools provide.
Hilliard City Schools knows all too well that what happens downtown affects us locally. We will stay on top of this issue and communicate with both you and our state representatives throughout this budgetary process.