Monday, Jul 25, 2016
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Education

Midyear cut in federal funding hits schools

TPS loses $350,000 in congressional deals

Midyear-cut-in-federal-funding-hits-schools

Toledo Public Schools' chief academic officer Jim Gault said schools will have to stick strictly to budgets.

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A midyear cut in federal funds now leaves Toledo Public Schools with little wiggle room and facing possible future program cuts.

The funding loss -- nearly $500,000 for Toledo's public, private, and charter schools -- came after congressional budget reduction deals led to about $8 million less federal money for Ohio schools. The cuts came largely to Title I funding, which is federal money dedicated to high-poverty schools.

Not only were the cuts substantial, they were also unexpected, coming midway into the academic and fiscal years. While there's always volatility in school funding, the scope of the cut and its timing is atypical, district interim-treasurer Matt Cleland said. Toledo Public Schools' share of the budget reduction -- about $350,000 -- is funding equal to about eight positions.

"We already budgeted for those [positions]," chief academic officer Jim Gault said, "and finding that out in November obviously puts the district in a tough spot."

Every Ohio district received cuts, about 1.5 percent of their previous allocation. The Sylvania district lost about $12,000, for example, while Oregon lost about $7,000. Toledo's cut is much larger because the district receives so much more in federal aid -- more than $26 million this year.

The funding cut won't cost anyone a job this year in the Toledo district. Mr. Cleland said carryover funds from the previous year should cover most expenses already budgeted for this year. But the reduced funding will likely mean lost jobs and programs in future years, and it restricts district operations now.

Each pot of federal money comes with its own rules for what are allowable expenses. District administrators are not sure yet exactly what pots will take the biggest hits, but Mr. Gault said the Title I cuts will have an impact on instruction at the K-8 level.

Title I funding is supplemental money, so the district's general operating fund is unaffected. The fund pays for things such as tutoring, extra teachers to reduce excessive class sizes, and professional development for staff. That teacher training will likely take a hit this year, Mr. Gault said, as schools will have to stick strictly to their budgets.

Additional training sessions prompted by building-specific needs are now on hold, Mr. Gault said.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: nrosenkrans@theblade.com or 419-724-6086.

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