Stow -- Gamblers are bolstering budgets in the state's many school districts.

According to figures released last week by the Ohio Department of Taxation, roughly $38 million will be allocated to the more than 1,000 various educational institutions across Ohio as the state distributes its first revenues collected from taxes on casino profits.

Locally, Summit County school districts are slated to receive more than $1.62 million from the state. Allocations are based on student population and enrollment figures. Private schools are excluded from receiving any of the funds.

The Stow-Munroe Falls School District, which has approximately 5,000 students, is slated to receive $111,597 in casino-tax revenue, according to the Department of Taxation breakdown of fund distributions. That makes the district the second-highest recipient of those funds in Summit County -- Akron City Schools is the highest recipient with $463,671.

Catherine Bulgrin, treasurer/CFO for the Stow-Munroe Falls School District, said any boost to the district's $56 million general fund budget is "always welcomed" and often "hard to come by."

She noted the actual total the district receives will be less than the state's overall figure for the district because a portion of those funds is distributed to charter schools outside the public school system attended by children living in Stow or Munroe Falls.

SDLqMy assumption takes into consideration the amount the district will receive for students in attendance at our schools, and I expect that the charter schools' portion will be sent directly to them after it is deducted from the amount published on the Ohio Department of Taxation's distribution sheet," Bulgrin explained.

The district anticipated receiving about $86,000 in casino-tax revenues originally, which Bulgrin said was factored into the most recent five-year forecast.

The coming disbursement, which is to be paid out by Jan. 31 and will be applied to the district's general fund, will be the first allocation since Ohio's casinos in Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo have opened. A fourth casino in Cincinnati is slated to open this spring, while a Hard Rock themed racino in Northfield Park is expected to open late this year.

According to the state's overall breakdown, revenue accumulates in the Ohio Casino Tax Revenue Fund, and by the 15th day following the end of a calendar quarter, money is transferred from that fund into various areas. The money comes from a 33 percent tax levied on daily gross casino revenues, which is the remaining balance after winners are paid out.

Ohio schools will receive 34 percent of the revenue, while 51 percent is divvied out to county governments. An additional 5 percent is allocated to casino "host" cities.

The remaining balance is split between other smaller funds. The Casino Control Commission Fund will receive 3 percent, the Ohio State Racing Commission Fund receives 3 percent, the Law Enforcement Training Fund receives 2 percent and the final 2 percent is given to the Problem Casino Gambling and Addictions Fund.

Bulgrin noted the second disbursement, which is to be released in August, will likely fluctuate somewhat because the tax revenues are dependent on the success of the state's casinos.


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