Growth puts strain on District budget

The additional students have necessitated the hiring of 16 new teachers.
 
“We have already exceeded our staffing plan for this school year,” said Superintendent Dr. Todd Hoadley. “We are doing our best to keep class sizes manageable while dealing with the challenge of rapid growth.”’
 
The District has been growing every year since 1977, adding an average of about 300 new students per year during this almost 40-year time frame. In more recent years, the growth has been about 240 new students per year. This summer’s growth presents significant funding and space challenges. Most of our buildings are operating at or above capacity. No classrooms are going unused, and in some cases, teachers operate out of a mobile cart rather than a classroom in schools where space is especially tight.
 
“We can’t wait for the 22 additional elementary classrooms to open next school year,” Dr. Hoadley said. “Construction on the new spaces will begin in September at six of our elementary schools.”
 
Student enrollment growth is also the reason the District must undertake some K-8 redistricting to go in effect for the 2016-17 school year. The school attendance boundary changes are expected to impact less than five percent of our student population, but are essential to best utilizing our classroom space.
 
Unfortunately, more students doesn’t equate to more dollars for operating funds. House Bill 920, passed in the 1970s, prevents local school district revenue from growing with inflation. Additionally, the state of Ohio continues to cut our funding. The State has cut more than $30-million from our funding since 2006. During the same time period, we have grown by more than 2,000 students. In addition to the cuts, the state funding formula on paper indicates the District receives about $5,800 per student. The actual figure is about $1,100. Our state funding has dropped from 19 percent of total revenue in six years and today, only nine percent of our funding comes from the State. The most recent blow to our budget was Gov. Kasich’s line item veto of Tangible Personal Property Tax reimbursement that will cost our District $1.5-million annually.
 
It is important to note, Dublin City Schools does not have any authority regarding housing developments or zoning.
 
“In the surveys we conduct, people often say we need to stop building houses,” Dr. Hoadley said. “The District does not control home construction or subdivision projects. We try to collaborate with city and township officials whenever possible but in the end, our primary responsibility is to educate all students who live within our boundaries.”

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