State of Ohio School Funding Formula for Lake County

We have been researching the current Cupp Reports relating to the nine Lake County School Districts.

Here is a website that provides an overview of the school funding:
https://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Finance-and-Funding/Overview-of-School-Funding

We noticed an error in the numbers for the Wickliffe School District and had them corrected by the school’s financial officer. We appreciate the school’s transparency and correcting the numbers. We view it as simply a human clerical error.

We reported the error to Ms. Daria Shams, Senior Policy Analyst of the State of Ohio’s Office of Budget and School Financing. Here is the communication between LFC and Ms. Shams:

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Ms. Shams,

The Wickliffe School District did provide the correct numbers to me for FY21.  Hopefully, you did get the email that I forwarded to you with the correct information.

I have summarized information for the Lake County school districts for FY21. Copies of the two worksheets are attached. [use the arrow icon to change the page orientation and “-” or “+” to change font size]

The corrected worksheets are sorted based on the District Formula Funding [highest to lowest].  Is there any correlation between the District Formula Funding amount and the District State Revenue received by each district?

I have also looked at the SFPR worksheets and they are quite a challenge to understand.  I have attached the first two pages of the Riverside School district report.

The recordkeeping that is required at the State and local level to accomplish the State funding amount has to be extremely expensive for the taxpayers.

Thank you for your help understanding this complicated process.

*****

Here is Ms. Shams’ reply to our email:

Thank you for your assistance in getting the corrections from the superintendent. Yes, I have received them. At this point, however, I will not be able to affect the information that is already out there on the FY21 Cupp Report. The district must take care in reporting its future information. As I am sure you appreciate, the changing of one district’s data after the finalization of the report can have unintended consequences. These are the facts regarding the generation of the reports:

  1. The program that generates the Cupp Report calculates every variable on the report from scratch rather than simply copying the final product from some source and reporting it. So, for the calculation of the state per pupil revenue for example, the program takes all the revenue amounts from state sources and sums them up. Then it takes the enrollment of the district and adjusts it to a denominator that is appropriate for the calculation of that per pupil amount. Then one number is divided by the other to get the per pupil figure. The district would have to report all the elements of this calculation accurately for us to be able to recalculate their per pupil amounts.
  2. This approach is incorporated because as part of the process, the program calculates averages in the context of the number of observations included in the process.
  3. Even if we had all the correct base data elements for this district, any change in the base data of one district at this point would result in changes to the average figures which effectively has the potential to replace other school districts rankings relative to the averages. There could be objections from other districts if we did that.
  4. In the final analysis, we cannot change our final and official reports after the fact as this could have legal implications for the department. These reports are utilized by many sources for important evaluations and decision makings, and we are not at liberty to affect them after the fact.
  5. The issue we face now is that information for one district is incorrect because the district did not report accurate data despite all the documented processes, we have in place to ensure data accuracy. The burden of this issue is on the district that neglected to adhere to the procedures all other districts adhered to.
  6. By changing the information on our official report after the fact, we will be the target of all kinds of criticisms from various sources.

   We like nothing more than reporting accurate information on all our reports and we have put in place so many measures to ensure data accuracy, but unfortunately since so many data elements from so many varied sources over which we have little or no control at all, are utilized in our calculations, we sometimes end up with situations like this. The Cupp Report which is a major source of Ohio school funding information to many users in the country is over 99% accurate and it serves the public (general public, stakeholders, decision makers, university personnel, students etc.) very well as it is. So, we think it has been very successful in delivering its intended purpose.

   The state formula funding is a component of the state revenue. In addition to the state formula funding, other state-based revenue items are utilized in the compilation of the state revenue figure. 

   We realize that the SFPR reports are quite challenging, but they are generated based on legislative requirements. The intent of the law is to provide a funding system that is as fair and encompassing as possible to promote the education of the citizenry. The state funding system appreciates the fact that public school districts are responsible for the education of about 1.7 million students in the state with many different needs and requirements and consequently establishes a funding mechanism that by necessity amounts to a complicated formula. In view of this fact, we at the Ohio Department of Education try as much as possible with our very limited resources, to provide as much transparency as possible. We have generated a document that walks the user through the entire foundation formula in plain English language with references to various sections of the law to make the SFPR reports easier to understand. We encourage the users to utilize this resource which we call the SFPR Line-by-Line Explanation.    

   I am afraid I do not have sufficient information to respond to your last commnet about the assumption that “the state and local recordkeeping costs has to be extremly high for the taxpayers”.  

Thank you,

Daria

*****

For comparison purposes here, are the Grand Totals for all 606 reporting school districts:

Total Average Daily Membership (FY 21) 1,663,802 students
[Total Students in the State of Ohio]

Total Property Taxes Collected (TY 20) $11,497,110,922
Average per School District $6,910.14

Average Taxpayers Annual Income of Districts (TY 19) $63,619.79

Average Total District Expenditures Per Student (FY 21) $13,144.69

Average School Revenue Sources Per Student:

State Revenue $6,752.16 42.7%
Local Revenue $6,300.44 39.8%
Other Non-Tax $1,370.97 8.7%
Federal Revenue $1,396.62 8.8%

Grand Total Revenue $15,820.19 100.0%

Total $ Spent to Educate Ohio Students $26 – $27 Billion

Average Proficiency Score for all grades, all subjects 65%

There is definitely a problem in public education!

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Categories: Education, Lake, Lake County - General, Ohio Counties, Riverside S.D.

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