Perrysburg schools face funding unknowns PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer   
Friday, 27 September 2013 10:12
PERRYSBURG - School Treasurer Matt Feasel is expected to produce a five-year forecast next month. The problem is, he doesn't expect to know how the district's state funding is calculated until early next year.
Changes in local school district funding were approved as part of the state's budget over the summer, but Perrysburg still has little reliable information as it begins a new academic year, Superintendent Tom Hosler explained during Thursday's school board meeting.
Hosler said confusion still exists within the public surrounding a 6.25-percent increase the district is expected to receive in state aid this year, as many believe that to mean an equal increase to the district's overall budget, which stands at around $41 million. But with state funding only 25.9 percent of the district's budget, the actual increase is projected at $498,515, or 1.18 percent of the total budget.
Hosler and Feasel attended a meeting with State Sen. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) last week and still don't know much more than they did before, except that the funding formula won't be available until January. Hosler said he's grateful for any increase, as Perrysburg saw its funding cut in the last two state budgets, but the looming uncertainty remains troubling for the school district.
"It's not just Perrysburg, it's every school district in the state. We're still waiting for more information about this year's budget. Of course, we're five months into the budget year" by the time the formula will be received, Hosler said.
The formula is critical "because that is where we go to look for how they fund different types of programs, because those are changing dramatically."
The biggest unresolved portion of that is whether the district will see increased costs to educational service centers for preschool programs, and the manner in which funding is withheld when students opt to attend charter schools.
"We're not sure what that's going to be for us," Hosler said.
In the past, preschool charges were directly withheld from state aid. Now, it will be paid to the district, which will be expected to pay ESCs for services directly.
Average preschool costs are expected to more than double this year, and it remains unclear whether Perrysburg will receive additional money to support those charges, or if it will be expected to absorb it into the 6.25-percent state funding increase.
Board President Gretchen Downs pointed out the problems with a system in which the state will award funding, then look in January to see whether the amount was correct. If a district receives less than it should, more will be awarded. But conversely, if the state sends too much money, school systems will be expected to pay it back.
"It was stunning to me," when they explained that, Downs said.
"How can anyone think that this is a good model?"

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