Public Forum On School Funding Scheduled For Wednesday

The meeting to discuss urgent school funding issues is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 27 at RB Chamberlin Middle School.

The Twinsburg Board of Education is hosting a public forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday night at RB Chamberlin Middle School to discuss school funding issues.

The forum will include small group conversations that will be facilitated to allow participants an opportunity to provide their thoughts regarding this very important topic, according to Twinsburg schools.

The school board has to make a tough decision in the next few weeks on whether they should proceed with a levy on the May ballot considering emerging details in Gov. John Kasich's budget proposals.

Earlier this month, Kasich released his education funding proposal, which supposedly would give Twinsburg Schools a whopping $2.8 million more in 2013, or a 104 percent increase in state funding.

Right now, district officials have too many questions and are leery of trusting the numbers. Kasich's proposal is destined to change as the state legislature starts to haggle out a two-year budget, which should be finalized in June.

And there's the rub. Between now and June, when the state budget picture becomes clear, Twinsburg residents are set to vote on a 6.9-mill renewal levy in May.

The school board has to decide by March 15 whether it wants to continue with holding the renewal levy in May.

The district has numerous concerns about the proposal, but basically they are concerned that the state aid numbers aren't what they appear to be or that the state will turn around and take from elsewhere, essentially negating the increase.

Twinsburg officials are righly concerned about whether the perception of a big windfall from the state will impact voters at the ballot box.

"The fact is there are a lot of questions still hanging out about the Achievement Everywhere proposal," said Superintendent Karthryn Powers about Kasich's education plan.

School board members point out that even if the state fund boost happens, its still only a 6 percent increase in the district's roughly $40 million budget.

Here's the numbers in Kasich's plan:

2013 2014 Increase 2015 Increase Twinsburg $2,677,312 $5,465,921 104.16%  $6,832,401 25%

Last fall, Twinsburg taxpayers approved new levy dollars to fund the schools, with 54 percent of voters supporting the new tax dollars.

The 6.9-mill renewal levy scheduled for a vote in May would generate $4.4 million annually. An affirmative vote by residents in May would make the levy more permanent because the levy will now be continually funded and not up for vote every five years.



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