COLUMBUS -- It could be months before local districts know how much money they could lose or gain in Gov. John Kasich's initial bi-annual state budget proposal.

Under the initial plan, released Feb. 3, school districts which have lost student enrollment will be given less state money.

"The funding for districts on the [state aid] guarantee will be based on their past enrollment," according to Hudson City School Treasurer Kathryn Sines. "If a district's enrollment dropped by more than 5 percent from 2011 to 2016, your percentage could drop, on a sliding scale, up to 5 percent, but the guarantee would be no less than 95 percent of 2017 funding level."

According to spreadsheets released Feb. 3 by the Office of Budget and Management tracking projected funding levels for the state's 600-plus school districts, Hudson's enrollment has decreased by 319 students from fiscal years 2011 to 2016 or 6.6 percent.

The spreadsheet shows Hudson could lose 1.6 percent of its estimated $10.538 million core aid, or $166,358, in fiscal years 2017 and 2018.

The numbers are estimates used as part of the budget process, with actual totals determined later after taking into account local valuations, student enrollment and other factors.

According to Tim Keen, director of Ohio's Office of Budget and Management, the formula is simple.

"If you lost an appreciable number of students, why should we continue to pay you the same amount of money that we previously did?" Keen asked.

The governor said earlier this month that he is proposing a $200 million increase in funding for primary and secondary schools over the biennium. But that doesn't mean all districts will receive more money next year than they did during the current school year.

Additionally, Kasich has proposed lowering the state aid guarantee base districts receive if schools lost more than 5 percent of their student population.

Of the 346 districts in that category, 187 would see a decrease of less than $100,000, Keen said, adding that 71 of those would see a reduction of less than $5,000.

"A lot of these numbers are very small," he said.

However, the sheets distributed may not all contain the correct numbers. Sines said the listed Hudson numbers are not correct.

"The spreadsheet that was distributed last week had Hudson City Schools enrollment dropping by 6.6 percent," according to Sines. "We have asked where that data came from and have been informed that the data has some errors in the enrollment calculations and new simulations will be coming out soon."

Sines also cautioned that Kasich's budget proposal is the first in a four-step process that will take place over the next 5 months.

"We will keep a close eye on what is being proposed and keep in touch with our legislators," Sines added.

Marc Kovac, Dix Capital Bureau Chief, contributed to this story.


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