The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has released Performance Index data for the 2014-15 school year. Olentangy is ranked first in Central Ohio and is ranked eleventh in the state for Performance Index overall from twenty-sixth last year.
Enrollment growth was a major point of discussion for Olentangy school board members at last evening’s board retreat. There is continuing overcrowding at several buildings, and significant overcrowding at Olentangy Meadows Elementary, Shanahan Middle School, and Liberty High School. According to district administrators, there are some short-term fixes that may be enacted, but the larger issue that must be addressed is the current and anticipated enrollment growth at all three Olentangy high schools.
According to Gov. John Kasich’s recently released school funding proposal, Olentangy taxpayers will continue to bear the lion’s share of the increased costs stemming from the district's explosive, unprecedented, and continued growth.
Olentangy currently receives $9,106,935 in basic core state aid out of its total budget of $173 million. Under Kasich’s proposed plan, Olentangy would receive $10,017,628 in FY16 (July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016), a 10 percent increase. (Kasich’s budget proposal limits funding increases to 10 percent. According to Kasich’s calculations, Olentangy should be entitled to $37,236,165. Because of the funding caps, the district is receiving less than one-third of this amount).
Using projected enrollment figures from the district’s five-year forecast, which readers can find here, Kasich’s budget proposal equates to Olentangy receiving $519 from the state if calculated on a per-pupil basis. State funding for public schools does not use per-pupil funding in its calculations, so as Olentangy’s enrollment increases, the amount of per-pupil funding it receives from the state effectively decreases. The state does, however, currently provide a specified per-pupil amount of $1,149 to all non-public chartered schools in Ohio. (According to school board member Julie Feasel, non-public chartered schools include many private schools, such as Village Academy, Bishop Watterson, and Worthington Christian).
In other words, non-public chartered schools in Ohio could continue to receive twice the amount of per-pupil state funding than Olentangy. Non-public chartered schools are rewarded for growth, because they receive more money from the state for each student enrolled. Olentangy is penalized for growth, because no matter how many new students enroll in the district, the state does not increase funding to Olentangy on a per-pupil basis.
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