By Linda Dillman
Governor Mike DeWine plans to infuse more wellness dollars into school districts statewide, but Canal Winchester Schools Treasurer Nick Roberts said, unless the criteria determining need changes, no new money is expected for the district.
Canal Winchester Schools received more than $500,000 this year in wellness money due to the pandemic and, while the governor hopes to put an additional $176 million into the biennium budget for wellness, Roberts said the district is not going to see a single penny of that additional funding.
“They’re basing it (the poverty rate) on the U.S. Census data and saying our poverty rates have dropped in the last two years,” said Roberts. “I don’t know how reliable that information is. I guess it’s a strong indicator the poverty level in Canal is declining tremendously, but when you look at the list of school districts, out of 610 on the list, there are less than 10 that aren’t getting any type of increase from the new wellness dollars.”
Roberts found the news and the statistics used to make the determination that the Canal Winchester district is ineligible for additional funding hard to believe.
“I don’t think the data set they’re using is the most reliable,” said Roberts. “More wellness dollars are being put in. That’s true. But we’re going to stay stagnant at $501,961.”
According to a Feb. 8 financial report, Roberts said, while state funding for the district will essentially remain frozen at current levels in the upcoming budget, he plans to keep asking questions to get the correct information and the correct data and get the state to take another look.
During the February meeting, Canal Winchester Board of Education member Matt Krueger said that, while the district is still getting wellness funding, they are not getting any of the additional funding unless the selection process changes.
“Every other district in the surrounding area (at similar poverty levels) are all getting increases,” said Krueger.