The best place to research how schools are funded is the Ohio Department of Education website. It is www.ode.state.oh.us. From there you can search School Finance Payment Report. This will give you the details of how Woodridge is funded. I have been here just a few months, but that is the biggest question that I get asked, “Why does Woodridge get so little funding?”
I totally agree that how Woodridge is funded by the Ohio Department of Education is confusing. There are a number of factors as to why Woodridge gets so little money from ODE (property valuation of the district, adjusted gross income of the district, amount of miles within the district for bussing purposes, number of and type of special needs children, etc.) There are over 50 formulas in a school’s funding foundation worksheet. The bottom line comes down to Woodridge has a high property valuation in the entire district compared to the number of students that we have. They consider us to be a “wealthy” district.
Even though schools were supposed to be funded at a minimum of $6,000 per child last year, they were not. The State says they do not have enough money to fund schools at what the law says they are supposed to be funded at. They then develop what is called the State Share. This means that they fund schools at whatever they determine our state share is, based upon the formulas. The formula determined that Woodridge had a state share of 18.8%.
ODE also institutes what is called a CAP. Every school district in the state of Ohio has a CAP threshold. The way that ODE calculates their formula, Woodridge is CAPPED at 26% of what our state share formula comes out to. Therefore, Woodridge received 26% of the 18.8% of what the law says we are supposed to have received.
I am attaching a sheet that the Fair Funding Districts Committee put together a few years ago. It shows which schools received the lowest amount per pupil in the State of Ohio in fiscal year 2016. You will see that only 9 schools in the State of Ohio received less than Woodridge has. It also shows that 27 school districts in this state received less money per child than non-public schools received. Walsh, St. Vincent-St. Mary, IHM, etc. all received more money than Woodridge or these other schools. There is nothing wrong with children attending these schools. We just think it is unfair to not receive equitable funding.
Our Superintendent, Walter Davis, is very instrumental in this group. This group was able to persuade legislation to put in the previous budget bill that no public school would receive less than any private school. I am told that the Governor, himself, vetoed this item out of the budget.
Woodridge has tried to rectify other means of unfairness. Woodridge received $743 last year per child. However, if one our kids decided to attend a public Charter School, ODE would deduct over $7,700 on average per child and send it directly to that community school. Due to this inequity, a few years ago, Woodridge sent an invoice to the Ohio Department of Education for all of the money deducted from Woodridge that went to Charter Schools. Again, this is a parent choice as to where to send their child and we do not deny that. However, it is not fair to deduct more money than we receive for this. This invoice made National news and was then duplicated by other school districts. Woodridge eventually sent them a past due invoice as well. Obviously, ODE has never even recognized our invoices.
You asked if Woodridge receives other funds that other districts may not. We do receive some money in-lieu-of taxes that the cities of Akron and Cuyahoga Falls have set up tax abatements with to generate jobs and industry within the district. However, this is not something unique to Woodridge as many schools have these in place. A non-profit organization owns the land that Blossom Music Center sits on and therefore does not pay taxes. They do however send us $25,000 annually and let us use Blossom for free on graduation night. This is not something that they have to do, but do it anyway. Each school district may have other business options for additional funds, but it pales in comparison to what we do not receive from the Ohio Department of Education.
Again, I thank you for your inquiry
Woodridge Local Schools