Ohio’s School Districts Struggle to Cover Lost Transportation Funding
Mary Kuhlman | May 07, 2018
Every school day at the Acomb household begins with a chaotic morning. Mike and Lindsay have four children - ages 6, 8, 10 and 12 - who need to catch multiple buses every morning to different schools in the Aurora City School District. That means Mike and Lindsay have to make sure all four children are dressed, fed breakfast and put on their buses before the parents can dash off to work in Solon and Kent, respectively. "If I didn't have busing," Lindsay says as she pours cereal for 6-year-old Brynlee, "it just wouldn't work." Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, Aurora's transportation funding will be cut in half from where it was a year ago, and Portage County's second largest school district will have to find the money to pay that bill. Ohio's current two-year budget, which passed last summer, includes a major revision to school district transportation funding that affects more than half of Ohio's more than 600 school districts.
The state helps districts cover transportation costs based on the district's overall ability to raise revenue from its tax base. Changes in the complex formula the state uses to determine how districts receive transportation funding will result in Aurora's funding being halved from $700,000 in the 2016-17 school year to $350,000 in the 2018-19 school year. In all, by next year, 335 school districts will have seen reduced transportation funding since 2016-17.