On Tuesday Governor DeWine announced significant cuts to public education due to a shortfall in tax collections due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This will certainly have a direct impact here at JAG. I wanted to communicate to our community the impact of these cuts as well as address other questions you may have.
The cuts Governor DeWine announced across the state will be made between now and the end of our fiscal year, which is June 30, 2020. JAG will see a reduction of $221,007 in state funding over the next two months. We have been planning for such reductions and have been able to offset this cut by placing numerous planned projects on hold. These include flooring replacement, HVAC projects and concession stand replacement. These projects alone cover over $150,000.
While the closure has presented a number of obstacles to overcome there have also been some savings. Savings on fuel, electricity, gas, water and substitutes and reduction of spring supplemental contracts have resulted in savings of over $70,000.
Between placing capital projects on hold and the savings captured during our closure we have essentially made up for the $221,007 reduction enacted by the State, but we will continue to find ways to keep expenses down and the impact on students and teachers to a minimum.
While we have been able to plan for this to some degree, we are by no means out of the woods. With Ohio experiencing such a high level of unemployment we are anticipating a higher level of property tax delinquency and some impact to the earned income tax collections in July. These two factors may also be compounded by further cuts from the State as we move into the next year or even beyond.
How is the earned income tax impacted?
It is difficult to say at this point. The school district receives payments from the State for the earned income tax collected locally each quarter. The payment received in April was not impacted by Covid-19, but we are anticipating the July and September payments will contain reductions. One advantage of JAG’s earned income tax, for the resident, is that if an individual loses their job and collects unemployment they do not have to pay the income tax on their unemployment income as it is not considered earned income. Unemployment data is not available at a local level to determine how our next payment will be impacted. However, we know our payment will be at a reduced level and will continue to plan for this reduction.
JAG Schools and the entire community have a rich history of stretching every dollar. These times are no different. We will continue to look carefully at every expense and its impact on kids. We will make every dollar count towards providing the best educational value to our families. Careful planning will get us through this. Our community has come to expect it and we are proud to continue to protect the tremendous educational opportunities offered here at JAG.
If you have any questions, you can always reach me directly.