Otten concerned about state funding cuts

By Scott Halasz -

XENIA — Beavercreek City Schools Superintendent Paul Otten expressed concern after Gov. Mike DeWine announced a $300 million reduction in K-12 education funding last week.

The cuts, made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, will occur during May and June and will reduce the amount the district receives from the state by $2.072 million, which is 2.20 percent of Beavercreek’s $94.2 million annual operating budget.

Cuts were also made to Medicaid ($210 million); higher education ($110 million); other education budget line items ($55 million) and other state agencies ($100 million). Education took the largest hit.

“I understand we are living in extraordinary times and the state must respond to support our economy and to help our residents get back on their feet,”Otten said in an email. “With Beavercreek City Schools losing over $2 million in state revenue for our current year, we are already exploring how to continue to provide the instructional programs and services that our community has come to expect.”

Numbers provided by the state show that Beavercreek is estimated to have a cash balance of more than $21.5 million at the end of fiscal year 2020, but Otten is still concerned about future funding.

“What is even more unsettling is the uncertainty of what additional reductions are coming next from the state and how that will impact our forecast,” he said. “It is unfortunate to receive one of the largest reductions across the state per student when our district receives one of the smallest amounts in state funding per student. This type of formula, once again, places greater strain and pressure on our residents to fund our schools with even less support coming from the state.”

Beavercreek’s cut is the largest in Greene County, despite it receiving the lowest amount per pupil at $1,698. Only Centerville and College Corner in Preble County receive a lower amount per pupil than Beavercreek in the Dayton area.

In addition to the lost state revenue, a substitute emergency levy that was on the March primary ballot is currently failing 6,522 votes to 5,921, with some absentee and provisional ballots yet to be counted. If it passes, the 9.85-mill levy would continue to provide the district with $18.5 million in operating dollars, not increase taxes, and allow the district to collect on new construction in the future.

According to the district website, if it fails before the current levy expires in 2021, it would be “devastating” to the district.

By Scott Halasz

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.