BROOKLYN, Ohio — The superintendent for Brooklyn City Schools says the district is short on cash, which could lead to more cutbacks that may soon impact hundreds of students.
“Our budget is only a $17 million budget,” Superintendent Mark Gleichauf said. “Over the last 10 years alone we’ve lost $9.6 million just in tangible personal property tax.”
Gleichauf says the he has already made cuts that impact teacher staffing, school supplies and student transportation.
But it may soon impact student programs.
“We need a level playing field,” he said.
State funding for Brooklyn schools is limited and it’s been that way for a while, according to Gleichauf. He says the state provides the district with $941 per student. Meanwhile, non-public and private schools receive nearly $1,400 per student. The problem is Brooklyn is being lumped in with a group of wealthy districts across the county and state.
But perception doesn’t seem to be reality.
"Brooklyn is definitely not a rich district,” said resident Ken Lorring. “We are a city that is this big compared to other cities that are probably three, four and five times our size and probably brings in much more tax revenue.”
Lorring says he lost count of the number of school levies that have been up for a vote over the years, but they’re hard to ignore as each one could possibly raise property taxes.
“There’s a point where I would probably say hey we’ve got to do something different with budgets and money if were always constantly having to lean on the taxpayers of the city for money.”
Mayor Katie Gallagher agrees.
“[Residents] just can’t afford it,” she said. “They’re doing the best they can to scale back as much as they can but how much are you going to ask them to do.”
State representative Bride Sweeney is currently working on a solution.
“I think that what happens in Brooklyn is a great example of how unfair the system is,” Sweeney said.
Sweeney says Brooklyn is one of 30 underfunded districts in the state. In hopes of changing that, Sweeney introduced HB 504, which could bring a half million dollars to Brooklyn schools.
“This is a small fix and it’s not going to solve the solution. We overall need to be working on a fair funding formula.”
Sweeney says legislators are also looking at ways to bridge the funding gap for districts statewide through the Cupp-Patterson Report.
In the meantime, Gleichauf plans to keep crunching numbers and making cuts.