COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine is restoring some of the state education money that he said last year would be cut, he announced via an executive order on Friday.
Last year, in the early days of the coronavirus crisis, DeWine cut about $776 million from the state’s general operating budget for 2020, including $300 million in cuts to K-12 school funding and $110 million in cuts to higher education funding.
Those cuts set a new, lower baseline for state education funding for 2021. But under the new order, DeWine is restoring $160 million in funding to schools this year, and $100 million to higher education. So in other words, the state cuts to education funding now are lower than expected.
While Ohio schools saw their state funding cut last year, they got extra federal funding that made up for the difference, although the specifics vary district by district.
The other $390 million in state budget cuts DeWine announced last year, spread across various state agencies, will remain in place.
Kim Murnieks, DeWine’s budget director, said state sales tax revenues have consistently been stronger than expected over the the past six months.
“This has been a challenging year, and we are pleased that halfway through the state fiscal year we are able to implement cuts at a lower level than we anticipated six months ago,” she said.
Work continues on the governor’s two-year budget proposal for 2021 and 2022. It will be finalized and unveiled on Feb. 1, she said. She declined to share any details.