HUDSON – The Hudson City Schools could lose more than $1 million this fiscal year due to funding cuts at the state level.
On May 5, Gov. Mike DeWine ordered announced $775 million in reductions to Ohio's General Revenue Fund for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020 which ends on June 30.
At the end of February and prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, state revenue for the fiscal year was ahead of estimates by more than $200 million, according to information provided by the governor’s office. As of the end of April, Ohio's revenue was below the budgeted estimates by $776.9 million.
The governor stated that the following budget reductions will be made for the next two months:
• Medicaid: $210 million
• K12 Foundation Payment Reduction: $300 million
• Other Education Budget Line Items: $55 million
• Higher Education: $110 million
• All Other Agencies: $100 million
The budget reductions are in addition to DeWine's March 23 directive to freeze hiring, new contracts, pay increases, and promotions at all state agencies, boards, and commissions.
This means that the Hudson schools stand to lose about $1.145 million from its budget, said Superintendent Phil Herman. This is about 10% of the funding the district gets from the state, and about 1.5% of the district’s budget overall. The district’s overall budget for 2020, according to information from the October 2019 five-year forecast, is about $65.3 million.
"We thought the reductions would be in the next fiscal year, but they are for now," Herman said. "That is certainly extremely concerning for us as a school district, but at the same time we shouldn’t panic. We are in good fiscal shape, and we have a solid carryover. We should be OK for now, but at the same time need to be careful because we don’t know about next year’s funding. We need to be careful and concerned moving forward in the future."
Herman said some things that will help the district are the The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security grant and higher than anticipated collections from property taxes, particularly commercial. In addition, there were some reduction in expenditures, such as in nursing, transportation and utilities.
Treasurer Phillip Butto said that for this fiscal year, property taxes should not be impacted. "But if economy continues to lag, we could see a decrease in the future."
Butto said during the school board’s May 11 meeting that the district saw about a 6% increase in real estate taxes, going from nearly $44 million in 2019 to nearly $47 million in 2020. Collection on delinquent taxes on commercial saw a big increase, from $206,619 in 2019 to $518,993 in 2020.
Kindergarten reimbursement offered
Parents of kindergartners can request a partial refund of preschool and kindergarten fees should they wish for this school year due to the pandemic closing the school buildings.
The Hudson City School District Board of Education unanimously voted to offer a $187.50 tuition refund to families with preschoolers enrolled in the district for half of the fourth quarter of the 2019-20. The refund for families enrolled in full-time kindergarten would be $425. The relief would only be given to those families who ask for it.
April Helms can be reached at email@example.com.