Tuesday, January 29, 2008

State Budget Woes - What about Schools?

Governor Strickland has put out the warning that the State's budget forecast looks pretty gloomy. We have to assume that this means Hilliard City Schools will see no relief from the funding freeze we've been living with for the last couple of years. In fact, we need to be concerned that our State funding might be further cut if that's what it takes to balance the State budget. Remember that the State cannot run at a deficit (although it can dip into reserves), and that certain programs - notably Medicaid - are seen to have a somewhat higher priority than funding so-called affluent school districts such as Hilliard.

This is part of the Perfect Storm I've been writing about for months: a) renegotiation of the employee union contracts; b) competition for state funding when the so-called affluent suburbans are in the minority in the General Assembly; and, c) the exhaustion of District's cash reserves.

Dimon McPherson, a member of the School Board for Olentangy Schools, was quoted as saying in regard to their funding situation: "the March 4 issue has to pass or it will bring about permanent and staggering changes that we might not recover from." Mr. McPherson is the former CEO of Nationwide Insurance, and knows his way around finances. His observation about their funding situation is sobering.

And I think it applies to us as well - the situation is quite serious...

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