Ohio Gov. John Kasich's proposed education budget would cut funding for educational service centers across the state, which has all 55 facilities in Ohio preparing for the worst, including in Toledo.
ESC of Lake Erie West is one of the largest center's in the state. Now like many others, it is waiting to see what the future holds and is preparing if Kasich's budget is approved.
Educational service centers provide support services to school districts across Ohio, including occupational, physical and speech therapy, school nurses and curriculum and attendance supervisors. With Kasich's proposed education budget, ESC Lake Erie West would see $2.5 million cut over the next two years.
"That will necessitate several possible cutbacks on staff, and other costs that we share with other districts. And so, hopefully, this won't happen, but we're starting to look at what would happen if those cuts were to take effect," said Treasurer Richard Cox.
According to reports, the potential cuts in funding could total more than $90 million for the 55 centers, which would likely lead to higher charges for the districts that utilize their services. Those funds would also go back to the schools, allowing them to chose where they want that money to go.
"Our fees would have to change because at this point in time, the dollars are coming to us, so, we're able to keep our costs down. But, if we have all dollars going directly to the school districts, then we have to look at our funding structure and fee structure differently," explained Superintendent Sandra Frisch.
Already, ESC of Lake Erie West is managing its finances, and in the next few months, will look into ways it can prepare for the loss of funds. The budget needs to be passed by the legislature and signed by Kasich by June 30.
Washington Local Schools is one of the districts that could be impacted by these ESC cuts if they go into effect.
"The reality is that a loss of funding to the ESCs translates into hidden reductions to school districts across the state of Ohio," said Superintendent Patrick Hickey. "The increase local districts may be receiving will be offset, maybe entirely, by the reduction that the governor's proposal will have on ESC funding."
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