Friday, April 25th, 2014

Groveport Madison loses state money as students transfer elsewhere

By Rick Palsgrove

Southeast Editor

The amount of state funding received by Groveport Madison Schools is being whittled away by students in the district who are opting to transfer to other schools.

Groveport Madison is receiving $30.3 million in annual state funding this year, but, according to the Ohio Department of Education, the district is losing $10.8 million annually from this funding because of students who live in the district but transfer to schools elsewhere. State money follows the student. This includes those pursuing open enrollment, private schools, charter/community schools, scholarship transfers, special education, and the STEM program. Therefore, the district’s net annual state funding total is about $20 million.

“This is money being taken away from Groveport Madison because many kids are transferring,” said Groveport Madison Treasurer Tony Swartz. “That’s a lot of kids.”

According to the Ohio Department of Education, there are 7,238 school age children who live in the Groveport Madison district. Of this number, 5,869 attend Groveport Madison Schools; 1,212 attend private, charter, or parochial schools; and 157 pursue open enrollment at other public schools.

Those opting for open enrollment at other public schools include: 106 to Columbus City Schools, 23 to Reynoldsburg City Schools, 15 to Teays Valley Local Schools, 6 to vocational schools outside the district, 4 to Amanda-Clearcreek Local Schools, 2 to Lancaster City Schools, and 1 to Berne Union Local Schools.

Swartz noted that suburban schools that are part of the Win-Win school boundary agreement with Columbus do not participate in the open enrollment transfer process with each other. He said a discussion of Win-Win will be on the agenda at the Groveport Madison Board of Education’s Dec. 12 meeting.

Swartz said, according to the state school funding formula, Groveport Madison had been calculated to receive $35.7 million in state funding. However, he said the state imposed a cap on annual increases this year.

“We couldn’t get more than a 6.5 percent increase over last year, so we received $30.3 million instead,” said Swartz. “The state cannot afford to pay the schools what their own formula says, so they put a cap in place. Next year the cap is a 10 percent increase, so next year we might receive an additional $3 million. It’s not much, but it’s certainly better than going the other direction.”

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