Mantua – Given reductions in state spending on education, the State of Ohio has implemented state-guaranteed transitional aid to districts with declining enrollment. This “guarantee” means that the State of Ohio offers a promise to pay each district the amount of state funds the district had received in the previous year. “On the flip side,” remarked Jill Rowe, Crestwood District Treasurer/CFO, “it also means that the state feels that the district should not be getting 36% of the revenue it received in the previous year, but that the state will pay or “guarantee” the district these funds in good faith.”
According to Ms. Rowe, currently 190 school districts out of 615 statewide are on the guarantee. The top two districts receiving the largest amount of the state’s $169 million this year are the City of Cleveland, which received $34 million and East Cleveland, which received $9 million. The Crestwood School District ranks third in the state, receiving $3.6 million, or roughly 36% of the district’s funding. Other area districts are also benefiting from the guarantee, with West Geauga (in Geauga County) ranking 14th, Hudson (in Summit County) ranking 21st, and Southeast (in Portage County) coming in at 23rd.
“You definitely have to look at it both ways — we may be third in guarantee funding but if you look at the percentage of guarantee funding versus our total state funding, there are other districts a lot worse than we are. For example our total state funding is around $10 million, of this amount, $3.6 million is guaranteed. If you look at other districts that are on the guarantee, their state funding might only 8 million and they may be on a 3 million guarantee which is a 37.5% guarantee.”
There have been indications by the Governor’s office that the guarantee will eventually go away for Districts, but there is no indication when this will happen or by how much. Governor Kasich’s new budget, which will include school funding, is due out in February of 2015. “By June of 2015,” explained Ms. Rowe, the district will have a good indication of what the state funding, and more importantly what the guarantee funding, will look like.”
In May of 2015, the Crestwood District’s 4.7 Mill Emergency Levy, which was originally passed in 2012, will be up for renewal. This four-year levy will not increase taxes. Further, in November 2016, the District’s 3.5 Mill Permanent Improvement Levy will be up for renewal. This five-year levy will not increase taxes, either.
To keep apprised of the latest developments in the Crestwood District, plan to attend the next School Board meeting on Tuesday, January 6th at 6:30 pm in the High School Library. If you’re unable to attend, you can view meeting video at crestwoodschools.org.