COLUMBUS — In July, Gov. Mike DeWine signed a two-year state budget with $675 million for new “wrap-around” support services for at-risk Ohio public-school students, including after-school programs, tutoring, and counseling.
But the governor said Tuesday he will work to ensure that the funding for these services continues past two years.
“I’m going to make it very, very clear that the budget I will present in two years, [or] a year and a half, will have that money — [the] same amount of money, if not more — in there for these wrap-around services,” the governor said in an interview.
“This will be a high priority when we get into the next budget,” DeWine continued. “So I think local schools are in a pretty good position to assume that that money is going to be steady — a steady flow of money out into the future.”
DeWine, a Greene County Republican, said superintendents and principals have told him they’re wary of hiring people to provide these student support services because they worried the funding will dry up after the current budget expires in 2021.
The governor said he’s preparing to send a letter to school superintendents promising to push for more long-term funding.
“While I can’t guarantee anything the legislature will do [or] will not do, I will say this: there’s been no opposition to using that money for wraparound services from the legislature,” DeWine said. “I can’t speak for the [legislative] leaders, but it will be in my budget and I have every expectation that, you know, it will, it will pass.”
Spokespeople for Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof and Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder didn’t immediately return requests for comment Tuesday.
By the time the next budget is negotiated, Obhof, a Medina Republican, will no longer be president because of term limits. State Sen. Matt Huffman, a Lima Republican, is the favorite to take his place.
On the other hand, Householder, a Perry County Republican, is eligible to remain speaker through 2024 if all goes well for him.