COLUMBUS— During these challenging budget times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) took the lead as the Senate Finance Chair to protect schools from drastic cuts and sponsored the distribution of federal dollars for pandemic relief to counties and local governments.
Dolan also led the charge to save public infrastructure improvement projects for local communities and colleges and universities that were eliminated in the House version of the bill.
The Ohio budget is facing a $2.4 billion shortfall for the next fiscal year starting July 1 because many Ohio employers had to close their doors during the height of the COVID-19 virus after Governor Mike DeWine’s administration issued orders to close most businesses, restaurants and entertainment venues. Tax receipts plummeted during this period leading to the state’s financial difficulties.
“I fully recognize the economic pressures facing local governments and school districts during the mandatory closures of businesses during the pandemic. I realize the hard work facing city halls, county governments, school districts to maintain quality services with declining revenue. I worked with all parties from the Governor on down to fairly distribute Ohio’s resources and federal dollars,” said Senator Dolan.
Senator Dolan helped to reduce drastically the planned cuts to primary and secondary education in an amendment to House Bill 164 that capped the state funding reductions proposed by the Governor at six percent for the next school year when offset by federal CARES dollars allocated to K-12 schools.
Several local school districts expressed their support for this legislation, including:
Strongsville City Schools
“Strongsville City Schools appreciate Senator Dolan’s efforts to secure necessary state funding for our District,” said Superintendent Cameron Ryba of Strongsville School District. “Due to Senator Dolan’s efforts, our District will now only see a $544,022 reduction in state funding, compared to the Governor’s original proposal of $1.5 million in reductions. His efforts have significantly supported our District’s ability to meet the needs of all students during these unprecedented times, while at the same time protecting the investment of our local taxpayers.”
Chagrin Falls Schools
On behalf of Chagrin Falls, Superintendent Robert W. Hunt said: “The Chagrin Falls community and school district are extremely appreciative of Senator Dolan’s ongoing commitment to education. His most recent work to minimize the most recent state funding reduction on our school district significantly helps our ability to continue to offer a robust educational experience to our students.”
Westlake City Schools
Superintendent Scott Goggin said he understands reductions are necessary but “the original reduction plan was disproportionate. Senator Dolan developed and advocated for a plan that limited the exposure for all school districts across Ohio to 6 percent or less."
“For Westlake, his (Dolan’s) plan reduced our State foundation reduction from 41% to 6%. Senator Dolan directly impacted our students through his creative thinking and advocacy for public education.”
Senator Dolan was the primary sponsor to distribute $350 million of Ohio’s share of the CARES pandemic federal relief dollars to counties, municipalities and townships to be used for “necessary expenses incurred during due to the public health emergency.” The money is to cover expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic incurred between March 1 and December 30, 2020.
Local governments also issued their support for this legislation, including: