State budget cuts to education hit home for Loveland City School District
NEWS RELEASE: Susanne Quigley, Chief Information Officer
LOVELAND, OH (May 8, 2020) – This week, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the state will need to cut $775 million in spending to offset the loss in tax revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Kevin Hawley, LCSD Treasurer/CFO (Provided)
As a result, K-12 public schools will bear the burden of approximately $300 million in reduced funding from the state.
“For Loveland Schools, that means more than a million dollars less in funding than expected, which is almost 8% of the total amount that we receive from the state,” said District Treasurer/CFO Kevin Hawley. “This is for the current fiscal year, ending on June 30 – less than two months away.”
The district has already made $2.7 million in budget reductions for next school year to a $55-million total annual operating budget and will be making additional cuts as a result of the operating levy failure in the March primary election. Due to the economic impact of the pandemic, it is also uncertain whether the district will receive revenue from local sources as expected next school year.
LCSD Financial Forecast presented at BOE meeting before COVID-19 State budget cuts announced (File)
“It adds to the uncertainty that we have to account for in our planning,” said Hawley. “All we can do is adjust – and readjust – according to the ‘knowns,’ and leave as much flexibility as possible for the unknowns at this time.”
Among the uncertainty is whether the cut in state funding for schools is a one-time reduction or if it establishes a new floor for funding going forward.
“In particular, the question is whether the reduction will continue into the next fiscal year – a year that is already unpredictable as it relates to requirements and adjustments called for by the pandemic,” said Hawley. “Whether additional cuts in funding for K-12 schools are considered for 2020-21 is not yet clear.”
The school building closure since mid-March has not significantly altered Loveland Schools’ monthly expenses, although some examples of savings that are currently being captured are lower utility bills, decreases in overtime, substitutes, and reduced fuel costs for transportation. Most school operations have continued and some expenses have increased or revenues have decreased, including those for food services and programs that require tuition.
“The district will be receiving some additional funding from the state through the CARES Act, roughly $300k, which will offset some of this reduction but not all of it,” said Hawley. “We will be reviewing all options for how to reorganize and prepare to close out this year. We will discuss with the Board of Education the potential of additional cuts to those anticipated as we prepare for the next school year. We are always evaluating ways to make our district more efficient and find ways to save and will continue to do that.”
The Loveland City School District (LCSD) ranks approximately 100 out of 611 districts in the state in order of most affected by the reduction in state funding for K-12 schools due to the pandemic.
Click here to see Ohio Department of Education Reductions Listing