In 2011, Governor Kasich announced his first budget via a “town hall” packed with political supporters asked to react to a budget as Kasich introduced it for the first time to the entire State. In so doing, the Kasich Administration was able to completely con the Ohio media in reporting the Administration was INCREASING funding for education. The Administration could do this because it refused to release a district-by-district analysis of its school funding formula.
We were quick to point out that overall education funding was going down, and that the Administration was using a clever line-item trick by focusing on an increase in foundational aid to make it appear as if funding overall went up when it was actually being decreased by double digits.
Nearly two weeks after that rollout, Kasich finally released his first district-by-district breakdown of his school funding formula. But again, we found those numbers were highly misleading because the Administration’s analysis omitted all changes in funding thereby understating how Kasich was slashing public school funding. Even worse, it turned out that most of the increase in the foundational aid went to school vouchers and charter schools, and not to public schools.
Kasich even swore that his budget would not cut funding for any school district more than 8%. That, too, turned out to be a complete lie.
Even after the GOP legislature added additional funding for public education, over Kasich’s possible veto threats, the end result is that schools lost $1.8 billion in funding that has lead to over a $1 billion in new property tax levy funding requests in new “Kasich levies.”
Fast forward to yesterday. Kasich unveiled a new school funding formula at a virtual “town hall” in which his administration tightly controlled who attends and what questions can be asked. Kasich claims he’s increasing school funding by $1.2 billion and promising that NO school district will see any decrease in funding as a result of his budget.
But just like last time, the Administration says it will be a week before it can show a district-by-district breakdown of how its new formula will actually affect each district.
And yet, just like last time, countless media outlets report that Kasich’s new funding formula will pump in $1.2 billion in new funding for schools over two years.
Needless to say, we have some doubts. And so should everyone who listened to Kasich’s little song and dance routine yesterday.
The absolute best case here: Kasich’s new budget doesn’t even come close to making up for the $1.8 Billion in cuts he made to education in his first budget.
But when have we ever see the best case under Kasich?
More than likely Kasich’s using more of his funky budget math, just like he did in 2011.