State Representatives John Patterson (D-Jefferson) and Sarah LaTourette (R-Chesterland) today announced the passage of legislation that would change funding priorities under the Ohio School Facilities Commission for districts that have been consolidated.

House Bill 148 seeks to give a school district first priority for funding under the Classroom Facilities Assistance Program if that district was created through the transfer, merger, consolidation, or creation of a new local district between July 2013 and June 2018. The legislation resulted from a unique situation in Geauga County where four school districts are considering consolidation.

“House Bill 148 is a product of the collaboration and dedication of local school districts and their leadership teams, the Geauga Growth Partnership, Kent State University, and others,” said Rep. Patterson. “I am pleased the legislature was able to come together in a bipartisan way to develop a blueprint that can move public education into the 21st century with seamless opportunities for students to pursue career tech, college credit, or even agricultural education all on one campus in Geauga County.”

With the state’s assistance through this route of funding, school districts that are experiencing declining student enrollment would be able to merge more easily, ultimately saving taxpayer dollars and relieving the burden from local governments.

“Recognizing that consolidation could prove to not only be the fiscally sound thing to do in some districts, but could also lead to additional course offerings and opportunities for students, Representative Patterson and I worked directly with the Office of Budget and Management to draft this legislation,” said Rep. LaTourette. “As we get closer to the bill’s enactment, I am grateful for the positive impact this legislation stands to make in my district.”

The bill now heads to the Ohio Senate for consideration.

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