The state Controlling Board, a bipartisan spending oversight committee, approved $1.8 million for Bellaire City Schools in Belmont County; $678,000 for Cloverleaf Local in Medina County; and $1.7 million for Ledgemont Local in Geauga County. All three are in fiscal emergency, and without the money would not be able to make payroll.And while the Dispatch blames failed levies, local economic trouble and state budget cuts for the problems at those districts, perhaps a closer look will tell us where the primary issues lie.
I looked at what the state provided per pupil after all deductions in 2000, then what they provided this year through the latest report available after all deductions. What it shows is that, adjusted for inflation, per pupil state aid has dropped 34% in Ledgmont and 17% in Cloverleaf. In fact, Ledgmont gets less per pupil now than it did in 2000, even without adjusting for inflation.
The only district that has shown an increase is Bellaire, which saw an 11% increase over inflation since 2000. So the state is less to blame there.
Again, you can look here do check it out for yourself. Look at the final payment SF-3 form from 2000 and the April 13 payment form on the 2012 Bridge report. The Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator is here: http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm.
In short, the only district where you couldn't say the state is the reason for the district's financial woes is Bellaire. This mirrors what's happened in Cleveland, where the state's policy decisions have driven that district to the brink. And overall, at the end of the day, Ohio is providing 12% less today in per pupil funding to districts than it did in 2000.
Again, this is 10 years after the Ohio Supreme Court ruled the fourth (and final) time that the state had a constitutional duty to provide more of the cost of education and reduce the need for property taxes. Instead, the exact opposite has happened.
As long as the state continues to divest itself from education in Ohio like this, expect more and more districts to need emergency payments from the state to make payroll.
Maybe then it will merit more than a little blurb.