Blan schools: Is fair funding plan fair?


BLANCHESTER — The Blanchester Local Schools Board of Education expressed concerns this week over Ohio’s Fair School Funding Plan.

At Monday’s special meeting, Blanchester Schools Interim Treasurer Alleyn Unversaw gave a presentation as to how the funding plan may have an impact on the district.

According to a district profile handed out at the meeting, the state adopted the plan (FSFP) at the beginning of the 2022 financial year.

“Funding is driven by a base cost methodology that incorporates the four components identified as necessary to the education process,” the profile states. “The Base Cost is currently calculated for two years using a statewide average from historical actual cost data (district level).”

The profile indicates in the 2023 financial year, the FSFP methodology generates a statewide average per pupil base cost of $7,357 with a local share of approximately 60%. Blanchester’s base cost per pupil, according to the FSFP calculation, is $7,315 with a local share of approximately 39%, according to the plan.

“Base cost including the four components of direct classroom instruction, instructional and student support, building leadership and operations, and leadership and accountability,” the plan states.

Blanchester’s 2023 FSFP funding, if fully phased in, totals over $8.7 million. Without guarantees, the district’s state funding would go down 21.3% (over $2.3 million).

“Basically what they’re saying is they’re overfunding us now,” according to Unversaw. “They want more reliance or a bigger share of the locals to pay our portions.”

Unversaw mentioned how this applies to other Ohio school districts — around 250. He told the board others are “in a similar or worse boat” than Blanchester.

“There’s nothing really fair about this fair funding,” he said.

Board member Mike Williams asked if this would affect money received from the levy if it passes at the May 2 primary.

“There is a possibility that we pass this (levy) and the state funding will reduce. So, we’d have to raise money again and with heavier reliance on our local tax base,” said Unversaw.

He advised this wasn’t something the schools or board could immediately fix at their end, and they would have to contact local legislators and speak to them. He added if the levy doesn’t pass, the plan could put them in a worse situation.

Superintendent Randy Dunlap told the board that FSFP has not been fully implemented, but it has moved out of State House Committee.

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

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