Belpre City Schools’ superintendent asks Ohio senate committee for more funding

Belpre's superintendent is asking Columbus for more money for local schools.
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 11:50 PM EDT
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BELPRE, Ohio (WTAP) - Belpre City Schools’ Superintendent Jeff Greenley testified before the Ohio Senate Finance Committee, asking for more school funding.

WTAP sat down with Greenley to get a more detailed picture of what the superintendent is asking for and why.

Greenley stood before the Ohio Senate Finance Committee to ask for more state funding per pupil for Belpre schools as well as all other districts.

“Belpre’s history is that it has never been treated equitably under any funding system. This funding system gets closer but we still argue has its flaws,” he told WTAP.

Greenley explained that, under the Fair Funding Plan implemented in recent years, Belpre is considered to be in the top third of Ohio districts when it comes to wealth. This is due to a formula that looks at property valuation, W2 tax information of residents, and geographic size, according to a school district press release. Greenley told WTAP that he wants legislators to use more recent data to calculate the amount.

“Because the funding formula believes that Belpre’s taxbase can provide more money, it has in the last 20 to 25 years meant that we have gotten substantially less per pupil than our peer districts and over time that has meant that we’ve had to go to our taxbase more often than our surrounding districts in the county,” Greenley said.

More funding would mean the Belpre school district can continue what it’s currently doing without having to ask taxpayers for more money, according to Greenley.

“My objective yesterday was to say hey listen we’ve talked to folks in our district. They don’t believe that their property tax value evaluation leads to disposable income that you think it does…,” he said.

In other words, Belpre citizens are telling the school district that they can’t afford what Columbus thinks they can.

Greenley also testified in support of the Ohio Accelerated Appalachian School Building Bill.

He said it could help with funding a potential new building.

“What that would say is if Belpre were again to put another ballot levy on a future ballot, it would be able to access state funds immediately whereas now it would have to wait some period of time,” Greenley explained.

Additionally, Greenley said it would make it so the state would contribute 20% more money than it would before the bill. That could amount to an additional $6 million or more.