Wayne County School Leaders Fear Loss of Funding
School superintendents in Wayne County are calling on the county's Board of Supervisors to reject a proposal to end a sales tax revenue sharing program.
If county officials approve of the plan when they meet Friday, it would mean a loss of $5.4 million currently shared between 11 local school districts.
Marion School superintendent Kathy Wegman says her district and others have already made cuts to programs and staff in the past five years due to a reduction in state aid. "At this point I know that the county has a balanced budget with the sales tax in for schools. I'm not sure what they need the money for. They haven't talked about if we raise taxes that they'll lower it. They've talked about economic development. I'm not sure what their plan is for the money."
James Hoffman, chairman of the Wayne County Board of Supervisors, said he was declining comment until after tomorrow's finance committee meeting.
Newark school superintendent Matt Cook says the loss in sales tax revenue would result in a $800,000 cut in funding for his district. Cook says a property tax increase of 8.6% would be needed to bridge the gap. He called that increase "irresponsible", and says school leaders would prefer to join forces with county officials to lobby the state for a return to full funding. Cook says Wayne County school districts have seen a $250 million dollar loss in state aid since the financial crisis of 2008.