By Policy Matters of Ohio

Ohio Gov. John Kasich's 2018-19 budget cuts funding for 390 or about two-thirds of Ohio's school districts, according to a report released today by Policy Matters Ohio.

The budget increases funding for K-12 education over the last two-year budget by 3.2 percent, but that's not enough to keep up with inflation, Policy Matters found.

Moreover, changes to the foundation funding formula hurt districts with enrollment declines, place caps on funding increases, freeze per pupil funding and decrease state aid for transportation, according to the report.

Kasich's budget also reduces the Tangible Personal Property (TPP) tax reimbursement, instituted after Ohio abolished the TPP tax on capital equipment, machinery, furniture and fixtures. The reimbursement makes up for the losses to school districts, which rely on personal property taxes. Finally, the governor's budget gives charter schools nearly $2 billion in funding that otherwise would go to public school districts which educate the vast majority of school children.

"Ohio's K-12 system is already underfunded and the governor's 2018-2019 budget makes things worse," said report author Victoria Jackson. "The changes he proposes will harm most districts."

In addition to increasing funding for K-12 education, Policy Matters calls for changes to the funding formula.

Lawmakers should increase per pupil funding, modify reductions for districts with greater than 5 percent enrollment declines from 2011-16, restore the funding increase maximum from 5 percent in the current budget to the 7.5 percent maximum in the previous budget and increase funding for formula components that help low-income districts.

"School districts cannot do more with less and neither can the state," Jackson said. "Ohio needs to boost revenue by rolling back tax cuts for the wealthiest and closing some of the state's unnecessary tax breaks. We can't expect to provide quality education for our children without proper resources."

Policy Matters Ohio is a nonprofit, nonpartisan state policy research institute with offices in Cleveland and Columbus.