Friday, June 16, 2000

Taft signs bill giving schools $603M




By
The Associated Press

        TOLEDO — Public schools are getting a record $603 million to renovate existing buildings and construct new schools under a spending plan signed Thursday by Gov. Bob Taft.

        Mr. Taft also signed a bill that makes it easier for school districts whose buildings need immediate help, but don't yet qualify for state aid, to begin repairs or construction.

        Mr. Taft signed both bills at a ceremony at J. Scott High School.

        “What I'm most proud of is the significant funding for new school construction,” Mr. Taft said. “With these funds we bring to $1.45 billion the total funds provided for primary- and secondary-school construction in my administration.”

        Spending on public schools is up 20 percent from the last two-year budget.

        The two-year construction budget also provides $540 million for buildings at Ohio's public colleges and universities, $93 million for improvements to state parks and $90 million for renovations and repair at Ohio's adult prisons.

        In addition, the budget provides $83 million for improving state mental health buildings, $42 million for renovations to historic sites and funding for arts-related projects and $27 million for stadium and arena projects.

        The school facilities bill, sponsored by Sen. Robert Cupp, a Lima Republican, allows six of the state's urban districts to receive accelerated funding for their building needs.

        The districts are Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo.

        Mr. Cupp's bill also requires the Ohio School Facilities Commission to present recommendations for funding construction projects at Ohio's 49 joint vocational school districts within six months.

       



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