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Talawanda School District receives casino tax funds

By Jessica Barga
On January 17, 2013

Casinos in Ohio are now benefiting something that may be surprising: education. A portion of casino tax revenue that is generated each year is being divided up among Ohio's public elementary and secondary schools.

John Charlton, spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Education, said the payments will be made to schools twice each fiscal year. The first payment was made earlier in January.

The money is divided up between each of the 88 counties in Ohio and then further apportioned to each school based on the number of students living in that county, Charlton said.

While there are variances from county to county due to population, the differences are small, Charlton said.

"That averages out to about $20 per student," Charlton said.

Charlton said with recent budget cuts, public schools are suffering. This extra funding will assist these schools in need.

"We're very pleased that there is additional funding to schools," Charlton said. "It's not a big chunk of money, but in the financial situation we're in, every bit helps."

Mike Davis, treasurer for the Talawanda School District in Oxford, said the additional funding will not begin to cover the budget cuts that Ohio schools have seen in the past several years.

"The total casino revenue received from last year is $38 million...and we're receiving $64,000 of that," Davis said.

Talawanda has lost over $800,000 in state funding and stimulus money in the past six months through budget cuts, Davis said.

"[The new funding] pales in comparison to the amount given in 2012 and 2011," Davis said. "Every little bit counts, but looking at the drop in federal and state funding, [the new amount is] just a drop in the bucket."

Since Talawanda's fiscal year ends in June, the school will receive its next payment in August. The amount received will likely be $64,000 again, according to Davis.

"And it's not likely to go up in the future," Davis said.

Miami University Junior Micaela De La Cruz said she thinks the additional funding for education seems like a positive thing, even if it is less than schools were previously receiving from the government.

"As long as the schools are getting money I think it's fine," De La Cruz said.

She also said that the money going from gambling to education might help people see the positive side of casinos in Ohio.

"I can't see any other reason why people would switch their mind except for kids...I wouldn't mind if I had a child in school," she said.

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