The local impact of Gov. DeWine’s May 5 announcement of a $775-million budget reduction in the state’s General Revenue Fund is starting to become clear. Of that $775 million, $300 million was a reduction in funding for K-12 schools across Ohio.

During the Wednesday evening, May 20, meeting of the Oak Hill Union Local Schools Board of Education, Treasurer Rhonda Harrison explained the immediate hit taken by the district over a two-month period (May and June) as a result of these cuts is $176,252. This, she said, represents a decrease in revenue of over 16 percent for the current fiscal year (FY).

Treasurer Harrison went on to say the Ohio Department of Education continues to work with the Ohio Office of Budget Management on the state’s budget. Currently, she said the Ohio School Boards Association is telling school districts, including Oak Hill, to prepare for a 10-percent decrease in state funding for FY21.

“Since our overall state funding is 65-percent state share, that is equivalent to about $949,000 for our district in general fund money,” Harrison told the board.

She said this anticipated 10-percent cut is now reflected in the district’s five-year forecast for FY21 and FY22, with funding levels expected to return to where they were for the 2019-2020 school year by FY23. Harrison explained that roughly 87 percent of the district’s expenditures are for personnel and fringe benefits, and with no retirements this year, saving money through attrition is not an option. In order to avoid “drastic staffing cuts,” she said the district would be forced to tap into its “rainy day fund.”

Regarding the district’s insurance costs, Harrison stated she and Superintendent Dr. Marci Shepard met earlier this month with Peoples Insurance representatives, at which time it was learned the district would be taking a 10.84-percent increase in health insurance costs this year. This, she said, equates to an overall annual increase of $215,000 in expenditures for the district.