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Oakwood Schools

   

Financial Facts

Financial Update
Oct. 4, 2021

Since March 2020, the federal government has provided local school districts financial assistance in the form of pandemic aid.  These stimulus funds were designed to assist school districts in meeting the challenges of providing in-person instruction during an ongoing pandemic.  Because there is no one plan that works in every district for every student, school leaders have been given flexibility to determine how to best use these funds.

"We understand the playbook for how we navigate these new times isn't written.  We have so many more moving parts because of the pandemic.  Situations can change on an hourly basis.  While frustrating, we believe it is necessary to be very methodical in our approach to deciding how we spend stimulus funds.  We want to ensure we can respond to what is as well as what may be,”  Oakwood Schools Treasurer Gina Samson said.

Oakwood Schools leaders have been working to maximize the stimulus funds received and plan for anticipated funds.  

The District received $761,859 in the first round of stimulus funds.  These dollars were utilized to offset operational and program costs directly associated with the pandemic.  

  • $173,912 for the first wave of PPE and safety modifications
  • $248,843 for online options for students
  • $35,414 for touchless water faucets and sensors
  • $95,698 for 1-to-1 technology devices
  • $38,071 for staff professional development
  • $169,921 for wage continuation

The District shared these details with the community Aug. 20 (see Financial Update Aug. 20, 2021)

Additional stimulus dollars have been identified to address students’ learning loss resulting from the pandemic.  The District’s Learning Recovering plan identifies programs and enhancements being used to help students.  

In addition, District leaders are working to enhance Social Emotional Learning across the District.  A new position, SEL facilitator, was created to coordinate these efforts district wide.

At this time, the District is considering the best way to utilize the stimulus dollars to maximize funds to offset existing costs and enhance programming.  The District’s American Rescue plan has been submitted to the Ohio Department of Education and can be reviewed on the District website’s American Rescue Plan page.  

“We have a very good framework for spending stimulus funds and want to be strategic in allocation to provide the best we can for all students in the community,” Samson said.

Financial Update
Aug. 20, 2021

Like many other businesses during the pandemic, schools have experienced much greater volatility in finances than typical in prior years.  Spending, state funding and federal assistance have been significant areas of focus for school districts as all three have been less stable than usual in the last 18 months.  

School Spending 
As schools entered the pandemic in the spring of 2020, unprecedented decisions regarding state laws, best practices and community consensus had to be made quickly and in an ever-changing environment.  The budgets and funding integrated with those decisions were taken very seriously.  As Oakwood Schools shifted spending to align with new methods of delivery of education and scrambled to provide the safest and best environments possible, the budget also had to be adjusted.  While some areas of spending dropped significantly, other areas increased.  District leaders quickly worked with our staff and attorneys to interpret where we could and could not reduce the cost of labor, mitigate contracts no longer needed at current levels, and tighten down the spending.  Our budget for the 2019 - 2020 school year ended 5 percent below where we started.  Similarly, 2020 - 2021 finished 9 percent under plan.   

State Funding 
Prior to the pandemic, significant changes in how Ohio funds its schools were underway.  During the last three years, the state of Ohio developed the Fair Funding Model.  This model was recently accepted in the new biennium budget.  The new formula is intended to be a “Funded where Educated Model” by calculating state funding for schools based on a complex combination of student enrollment, local wealth/capacity adjustment and targeted areas of improvement.  Many of the details of how this formula will play out in funding are still unknown and are expected to become clearer by October 2021.  

Ohio is NOT fully funding the new formula.  As the formula indicates, schools need more funding than the state has to give.  The state has capped the overall increase at 1/6th of what the formula calls for each of the next two years, not guaranteeing full implementation nor future increases.

The bottom line is we expect state funding for Oakwood Schools to stay flat.  The previous state funding formula provided Oakwood Schools with $6,488,140 from which to operate.  The new formula estimated for fiscal year ‘22 is $6,470,772, a slight reduction.  However, this number is  only an estimate at this point and the following details are still being worked through:

  • It will take a minimum of six years for the formula to be fully implemented by the State of Ohio
  • Gifted funding may increase with increased reporting requirements for many of the services we already provide
  • Student wellness reporting requirements are expected to increase without additional funding
  • Transportation funding will be more closely tied to students, distance and density
  • DPIA – Disadvantaged Pupil Impact Aid will be further developed and vetted
  • Overall revenue for school districts will drop and so will expenses as funding more closely follows students to charter schools.

Federal Assistance

Stimulus dollars have been promised from the federal government designed to help cover the impact of the COVID-19 virus.  Funds are to be used to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the pandemic.

The first round of stimulus dollars included $761,859.  These funds were used in 2020 and 2021 during the early stages of the pandemic while schools raced to comply with changing requirements from the State, meet community expectations and redesign programs to deliver education inside the moving parameters.  Much of this initial funding was used to pay for items purchased prior to learning the District would receive federal funding.  We were able to use round one to pay for the following and relieve the budget:
 

  • $173,912 for the first wave of PPE and safety modifications
  • $248,843 for online options for students
  • $35,414 for touchless water faucets and sensors
  • $95,698 for 1-to-1 technology devices
  • $38,071 for staff professional development
  • $169,921 for wage continuation

Oakwood Schools is expecting to receive a total of $1.8 million in additional stimulus funding and is diligently working to determine the best way to spend these dollars.   The District is in the process of earmarking and planning the most effective use of the next round of stimulus while listening closely to changes in guidance and requirements. 

District leaders are using assessment data to determine the learning loss needs and targets for our students.  From there, they will work with area partners, including MCESC, Wright Memorial Public Library, preschool providers, the Oakwood Schools Foundation and others to develop recovery plans.  In addition, the District will employ social-emotional supports, taking a whole-child approach, to ensure students are ready and able to learn. 

The stimulus will also be used to cover a combination of past expenses and future needs.  As the guidance is forthcoming, District leaders are planning to strategically stretch these dollars for our students and our taxpayers.  With the opportunity to use some of these funds retroactively dating back to the beginning of the pandemic, and the potential for future impact from the pandemic still uncertain, the District is carefully considering how to get the most benefit from these dollars for our students.

District leaders are looking to spend the remaining funds on the following: 

  • Investments in student programming
  • Curriculum needs and access 
  • Investment in facilities and infrastructure 
  • Safety and security measures  
  • Continuation of services to ensure continuity and availability of quality employees

In summary, there has been and continues to be a significant difference in Oakwood’s budget both in what we need to spend for changing operations and in revenue expectations.  The priorities for the district, while changing in method, remain consistent to the pre pandemic priority on our resources:.  

  • Investments in student programming, curriculum needs and access
  • Investment in our facilities and infrastructure
  • Safety and security measures 
  • Continuation of services to ensure continuity and availability of quality employees

As we strive to find efficiencies in our budget, adapt to a new state funding model, and respond to a one time insurgence of federal assistance we continue to assess and reassess how to most effectively address these items with our resources.