Schools begin to cash in chips
By Jane Beathard and Kevin Dye
Madison County’s four public school districts are about to receive their first payoff from Ohio’s casinos.
Last week, the state posted the first anticipated disbursements of casino taxes to schools. Those payments will come on Jan. 31. A second payment will come Aug. 31, according to Tama Davis of the Ohio Casino Control Commission.
London City Schools will receive $42,380 on Jan. 31. It remains undecided how the district will use the money, according to treasurer Kristine Blind.
Additional revenue will go to Jonathan Alder Local Schools ($46,813), Madison-Plains Local Schools ($26,864), and Jefferson Local Schools ($27,574). The Ohio Department of Taxation will hand out a total of $37,953,632 to school districts across the state.
Revenue from the “racino” at Scioto Downs, south of Columbus, falls under the auspices of the Ohio Lottery Commission. It is not included in the Constitutional amendment that opened the door to casino gambling in the state.
Individual school district disbursements of casino taxes are based on a formula that divides casino tax revenues earmarked for schools by the total number of students in the state. That number for the upcoming disbursement was $20.91 per student.
The department of taxation then multiplied the $20.91 by the number of students in each district to arrive at the totals, Davis said.
Taxation department spokesman Gary Gudmundson said 1,019 public educational institutions are in line for the money. That number includes local districts, charter and community schools, as well as online educators.
January’s disbursement came from taxes on casinos in Cleveland, Toledo and Columbus. Future payments will likely be larger once the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati opens on March 4.
Jefferson Local Schools Treasurer Jill Smith informed the board of education at their meeting Monday night of the disbursement of the casino money to the district. Smith said that while any funds that come to the district are welcome, the amount is far short of a windfall.
“We are getting the first disbursement from the casino revenue this month,” Smith said. “People have been talking about millions of dollars, but we will be receiving $27,574. We will try to not spend it on one accounts payable. We are grateful for any funds that come to us. Something is better than nothing. We will also receive another payment…, but there is no way to know how much that might be, it may be larger.”