Gardner’s school support bill passes Senate

State Senator Randy Gardner answers citizen questions at a forum last year.

(Submitted by Office of State Senator Randy Gardner)

State Senator Randy Gardner’s bill to provide a new option for school districts to fund IT infrastructure projects, school security needs and other school improvements passed overwhelmingly in the Ohio Senate Wednesday.

Gardner (R-Bowling Green), the Senate Majority Leader, sponsored the 1:1 Match School Facilities Option to allow school districts a new option outside of the traditional Classroom Facilities Assistance Program, that has awarded billions of dollars to school districts in compliance with Ohio Supreme Court decisions requiring improved school funding support. The sponsor of companion legislation in the Ohio House of Representatives is State Representative Steve Arndt (R-Port Clinton).

“This new option for schools ushers in a new era of reaching out to districts to help them meet the needs of school children, whether it’s better technology, safer schools or other priority school needs,” Gardner said.   “Many districts I represent want this option.”

Specifically, the bill allows school districts that have not accepted money in the traditional school construction program to accept smaller amounts of state facilities aid in exchange for a reduced local match.  The plan is to get funds to school districts faster while saving state tax dollars from the traditional classroom construction fund.   The Ohio Association of School Business Officials, the Ohio School Board Association and the Buckeye Association of School Administrators have all endorsed the bill.

“I am pleased that school officials in the area and across the state have joined us in support of this bill,” Gardner said.  “We have a real opportunity to make a difference toward better support options for schools.”