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Education


Schools don't hit the jackpot with casino money
Averages to about $21 per student
by WKSU's IDA LIESZKOVSZKY


Reporter
Ida Lieszkovszky
 
In The Region:
The dice are rolling at casinos in Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo and a fourth casino opens this this spring in Cincinnati. Some of the casinos’ revenues are to fund education, and the first round of those payments has been handed out. But as StateImpact Ohio’s Ida Lieszkovszky reports, local schools have not hit the jackpot.
Schools don't hit the jackpot with casino money

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The first round of casino school funding totaled 38 million dollars. Divided between the states 1.8 million students that comes to just under 21 bucks per student.

David Varda is with the Ohio Association of School Board Officials. He says school officials are grateful for the extra funds.

But... he says in the 80’s, voters approved the lottery with promises of increased school funding. In the end, “School districts were fighting the notion among community members that if you had this lottery money you didn’t need any local tax levies and then eventually what the state did is that the lottery money was just used to fund a portion of the state’s funding of schools.”
Basically, the legislature saw it as a way to reduce the state’s portion of school funding. Schools didn’t get any extra money. But they did have a harder time passing levies.

Governor Kasich is expected to unveil his new school funding formula in the next few weeks.
And, some school officials are concerned the legislature will once again look at the new casino funds and reduce the state’s contribution.

Varda says the extra money will have minimal impact, helping save a teaching position here or an extracurricular program there.
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