When the initial state biennium budget was proposed in February, it contained a formula that would cut our District’s funding by more than $4.1-million over the next two years. This is part of a trend. Since 2006, our state funding has been cut by about $29.5-million. During this same period of time, the District has added more than 2,000 students. As our student enrollment growth has continued to rise, our state funding has continued to be reduced. Additionally, the proposed budget that cuts our funding comes at a time when the state is sitting on a rainy day fund in excess of $1-billion dollars. Does it make sense any public school district should be taking a funding cut this biennium when that type of carry over is available?
What does all of this mean for you, the Dublin City Schools taxpayer?
It means the state continues to push more and more of the school funding responsibilities down to the local level while increasing the number of unfunded state mandates.
Our community has stepped to the plate and funded Dublin City Schools with their local dollars. Almost 80% of our funding comes from local property taxes. It’s important to remember how diverse Dublin City Schools has become over the years. About 15 percent of our students are on free and reduced lunch. Approximately 10 percent of our students are English Language Learners and about 10 percent our population consists of students with disabilities.
In our District, we have local level funding, but state level control of some of the most important things in education, including the over-testing of students. Why is the reward for academic success and strong financial management the systematic cutting of state funds while simultaneously increasing state mandates? Our students and teachers are saddled with an unreasonable state required testing schedule that has required tens of thousands of dollars in testing related expenses for our schools.
We are blessed in this community to have five elected Board members who “get it” and who are not afraid to stand up for the taxpayers, students, and staff who’ve built Dublin City Schools into one of the country’s best districts. Board President Lynn May, Vice President Stu Harris, and Board members Scott Melody, Chris Valentine, and Rick Weininger have been speaking with one voice on this issue since learning of the proposed state budget in February.
Within days, the Board had collectively crafted a letter sent to Governor Kasich and the House of Representatives Finance Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education members asking them to reconsider certain provisions of the proposed budget that hurt our District. Mrs. May testified before at House subcommittee on March 18, making an impassioned and well-rationed argument our District should at least maintain its current level of state funding. The Board has discussed the proposed budget at its Board meetings, publicized the issue on the District’s web site and social media outlets, and have personally reached out to legislators asking for assistance. Most recently, the Board sent a second round of letters on this issue to the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.
We’d like to thank Sen. Jim Hughes, Rep. Mike Duffey, and Rep. Stephanie Kunze for meeting with individual Board members to discuss possible revisions to the budget.
We are fortunate in this community to have such passionate and concerned members of our Dublin City Schools Board of Education. Their commitment to maintaining the financial health of a District so many people have worked so hard to build over the years, is truly admirable and is a big part of the Dublin Difference. If you see our Board members around, please take the time to thank them for all they are doing and for their willingness to take a stand and speak up on behalf of our students, parents, and staff.
If you would like to contact our local legislators to voice your concerns about the budget proposal and its ramifications for Dublin City Schools, their contact information is available on our web site, www.dublinschools.net.