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HB 920 Needs to Be Discussed - Event Date: Apr 13 2008

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John Beagle View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Beagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Calendar Event: HB 920 Needs to Be Discussed
    Posted: Mar 31 2008 at 1:24pm
Referencing: Senator Cates to Appear Locally at Schools Open Forum

A letter from Tom Birdwell to Senator Cates, co-chair of the Ohio Education Senate Committee:

Senator Cates,

I will not be able to attend your initial meeting this week in Monroe, due to state limits preventing a board quorum gathering outside of a regular meeting. However, Mr. Leeds and Mr. Snyder will be representing Monroe schools. But please note that I am writing not just a Monroe school board member, but also as Board President of Butler Tech, and as a community member and taxpayer.

I think just about everyone in Ohio will agree we have a school funding problem, a large one. Today's system just does not work effectively. There is great debate over how much school funding should come from local vs. state sources. I leave that discussion to others for now. The issue I feel must be immediately addressed is the inherent instability of our state's school funding system. This instability has two key sources, House Bill 920, its rollbacks and consequent ballot issues just to restore our school's tax rates, and the quirks of our state aid funding calculations, popularly known as "phantom revenue". I seek your help in correcting these two problems.

To fully understand and document our school's funding situation, all of the school districts of Butler County came together to investigate the effects of House Bill 920, its tax rate rollbacks, and to better understand the perception of the voting public. I have attached the executive summary of that study. As the report makes clear, our school operating tax rates today remain virtually equal to that of 1989. For Butler County in total, the analysis showed that, the total collected school operations revenue, including the HB920 rollbacks and ALL of the operations levys passed since, are within one half percent of what would have been collected had HB920 never been passed, and if none of the levys to offset tax rollbacks had occurred. Some may argue that this proves all is well, that we continue to fund our schools. But if so, they miss the reality districts face, the inherent problems of fiscal uncertainty, and the magnitude of the effort required to insure fiscal survivability of our school districts.  Levy after levy after levy... applying such huge effort just to remain where we were to begin with, makes no sense whatsoever. 

Compounding the problems of HB920 rollbacks, and the matching levys to restore tax rates, is the state's district funding calculation method. I am sure you are familiar with the phrase "phantom revenue" with respect to state aid calculations. But if not, literally, when our school districts exceed twenty mills revenue in permanent local funding, state aid is correspondingly reduced, dollar for dollar, for any permanent local taxes collected between twenty and twenty three mills. This quirk of law literally all but forc

John Beagle
Middletown USA
News of, for and by the people of Middletown, Ohio.
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