Gov. John Kasich wielded his veto pen Wednesday to slash $78 million in primary and secondary education funding in the state’s two-year budget.
The cuts, for the most part, are aimed at high wealth districts, like Olentangy Local Schools.
“By carving out a special payment to some of the richest districts in the state – at a time when other districts are seeing funding withheld due to legally-imposed ‘caps’ on their funding growth – a guarantee minimum per-pupil payment is not the best use of state resources,” Kasich said in his veto message.
Olentangy will receive a funding increase of 11.3 percent in 2016 and an increase of 7.3 percent in 2017.
Under the legislature’s version of the budget, the district would have received increases of 29.5 percent and 14.8 percent.
Julie Wagner-Feasel, a member of the district’s board of education, called the veto a “huge disappointment.”
“For the governor to strike this on a fairness issue, I just cannot comprehend that,” she said.
Wagner-Feasel said state funding to the district has not nearly kept pace with the rapid growth in the school system over the years.
“We continue to add students so that practically negates any increase,” she said of the increase in funding that amounts to about $1.8 million over a two-year period.
The funding for Delaware County’s three other public school districts will remain unchanged from the version of the budget approved by the legislature late last month.
Buckeye Valley will receive no increase in the first year of the two-year budget and an increase of just 0.4 percent in year two, which amounts to an additional $18,522 over the period.
“Even though we are like anyone else and would like to have more, we’re happy to stay at the same funding level at this point,” said Superintendent Andy Miller.
In the governor’s original budget proposal, the district was set to lose funding.
Delaware City Schools will receive an increase of 3.1 percent in state funding in 2016 and an increase of 3.3 percent in 2017. The increase will amount to just under $1 million over the two year period.
Big Walnut will receive an increase of 9.9 percent in the first year of the budget and an increase of 11 percent in the second year. Overall, the increase amounts to about $1.2 million.
“Delaware County always get the short end of the stick because we are fast growing and we’re upper middle class,” said State Sen. Kris Jordan, R-Ostrander. “They always tend to punish success and send our taxpayers’ money to places like Cleveland and other big cities where it’s not used nearly as efficiently.”