Gaming analysts said that removing a total of $851 million in revenue from state-run slot machines would leave Ohio’s K-12 education budget severely damaged by cuts.
That is the bleak and gloomy situation painted by Governor Ted Strickland, who released the gaming analysts’ study on September 29th, 2009 showing that the school districts in Ohio would be forced to slash at least ten percent across-the-board from budgets for the fiscal year 2011.
That is the best case scenario already. Gov. Strickland’s spokesperson, Amanda Wurst said that the Democratic Governor asked for the numbers analysis following the decision of the state Supreme Court decision that decided that the language in Ohio’s budget permitting slot machines is subject to a voter referendum.
The Ohio Supreme Court’s 6-1 decision has paved the way for a ballot referendum and called into question the $851 million Ohio expected to earn from slot machines once a dropoff in playing other lottery games was considered in. Wurst said that Gov.
Strickland asked the Department of Education to create an impact analysis as part of the ongoing study of the state Supreme Court’s decision.
Wurst said that the Governor is committed to doing everything as quickly as possible to shield primary and secondary education because he believes that the future of Ohio’s economy depends on how well they educate the state’s residents.
The cuts would be far bigger-10.3% in fiscal 2010 and 15.74 in 2011-if the federal government decided not to give Ohio a waiver on required spending levels influenced by use of stimulus funds in the budget.
The budget analysis released by Gov. Strickland’s office is not a very likely outcome. A more likely scenario is that if the slot machine earnings does not materialize, other money would be diverted into education from other agencies in Ohio’s $50.5 billion budget. That means that Ohio agencies, which have already suffered big budget cuts in a generation, would bear another $850 million in total cuts.