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Ohio Education To Incur Cuts Because of Ohio Supreme Courts Decision on Slot Machine Plan

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland said on September 29th, 2009 that school districts in Ohio could see 10.3% cuts in state aid this school year and nearly sixteen percent by 2010-$2.3 billion in total-if the state does not find any other way to revive the slot machines plan. Dayton Public Schools is at risk of losing a total of $34 million in the next two year, according to a study made by the Ohio Department of Education.

The problem: Ohio's $13 billion , 2-year K-12 budget relies on lottery earnings, slot-machine earnings, other state earnings and stimulus funds from the federal government. But the federal stimulus money comes with a condition: The state may not use it to replace other Ohio money.

To qualify for the stimulus money, Ohio must spend at least what it spent three years ago on K-12 in the upcoming 2 years. Without the $851 million from slots earnings, the state might not be able to qualify for the money.

Ohio could petition for a federal waiver to spend more for 2009 but it is not clear whether that would be approved. An adverse decision from the Ohio state Supreme Court cast a shadow on whether the slots plan of Governor Strickland to install 17,500 slot machines at 7 horse racing tracks by May 2010 will push forward.

The Supreme Court said that the slots plan is subject to a state voter referendum in November 2010. Strickland cannot re-allocate money into the K-12 budget from elsewhere without approval from the legislature.

Gov. Strickland, Senate President Bill Harris (Republican-Ashland) and House Speaker Armond Budish (Democrat-Beachwood) are scheduled to meet to talk about the issue. Gov. Strickland's Press Secretary Amanda Wurst said that the governor has yet to decide on his next step.


Monday, 30 November 2009
Alex Van Der Butz