At the Controlling Board meeting scheduled for Monday, members will be reviewing a request for nearly $24 million in funding for nine Ohio school construction projects approved by the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) last month.
The school districts approved for funding at OSFC’s July 22 meeting include Arcadia Local, Chippewa Local, Defiance City, Fort Recovery, Madison Local, Southeastern Local, Three Rivers, Toronto City and Warren Local.
The OSFC approved funding for facility renovation and construction projects in nine school districts across Ohio on July 22. The projects represent nearly $345 million in work, to be financed by a combination of state and local funding.
Erik Roush, chief of external and legislative affairs for OSFC, said Friday that the projects up for funding Monday were not included in a recent inspector general investigation of OSFC. The report from that investigation, released this week, accused OSFC Executive Director Richard Murray of having a pro-union bias.
“To the best of my knowledge, none of the districts contained in this Controlling Board request were interviewed by the Inspector General or logged complaints against Director Murray or the Ohio School Facilities Commission to the Inspector General’s office,” Roush said.
A significant portion of the state funding for the projects will come from the proceeds from the $4.1 billion in tobacco securitization financing initiated by Gov. Ted Strickland and approved by the General Assembly in 2008. The funding awards are contingent upon Controlling Board approval. The districts must acquire their local share of the project budget within a one-year time frame before the state funding can be released.
At the time of their approval, Murray called the projects “a crucial step in addressing the facilities needs within these districts.” He added, “These school construction projects will have a significant economic impact on local communities as today’s commission action translates into as many as 3,520 job opportunities for Ohioworkers.”
Under the commission’s Green Schools Initiative, adopted in 2007, all of the buildings will be designed using the energy efficient and environmentally-conscious LEED for Schools rating system developed by the non-profit U.S. Green Building Council.