State Reps. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) and John Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake) expressed concern today that historic state budget cuts to local public schools have shifted the responsibility of providing education for Ohio’s children to local taxpayers—resulting in $1.6 billion in new school funding levies since 2011.
Today, taxpayers throughout Ohio will be asked to consider a total of 72 new school funding requests at a cost of close to $260 million. The added downward pressure on local taxpayers comes at a time when the state is sitting on $1.5 billion in cash reserves and is close to realizing some $400 million in budget savings due to Medicaid expansion.
“The state has shifted the responsibility of funding public education to local taxpayers, hurting our schools, children and middle class families,” said Rep. Patterson. “It is irresponsible to abandon our state obligation to provide education for our children. This isn’t a sustainable way of funding public education in our state, and local taxpayers can’t afford it.”
Local school funding has been cut by roughly half-a-billion dollars since the enactment of Gov. Kasich’s first biennial state budget. The number of school funding levies since Gov. Kasich took office has increased dramatically—so has the dollar amount of proposed local tax increases.
“The escalating financial pressure to provide for an adequate and equitable education remains the principal responsibility of the State of Ohio,” Rep. Rogers said. “The continued trend of the current administration to shift the burden of school funding to the local taxpayer effectively hurts our schools, our communities and our kids. If we are serious about fostering economic growth and opportunity here in Ohio, then we should be investing in our children, our future.”
The most recent budget only puts more pressure on local taxpayers by abandoning a long-standing state policy of sharing in the cost of new levies. Combined with the elimination of the Homestead Exemption for many, the new tax shift could significantly raise the costs of funding schools for low-income, middle class and senior homeowners.