Federal Hocking One Step Closer To Getting State Funding For Facility Improvements

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Federal Hocking Local School District is one step closer to getting over $500,000 from the state for facility improvements that school officials say are long overdue.

The board approved a resolution Tuesday to participate in the Ohio School Facilities Commission's Classroom Facilities Assistance Program. The next phase is to seek approval from the commission and the state’s controlling board. Their review is expected sometime after Friday, said Bruce Steenrod, the district’s treasurer.

If approved, the total project budget would be just over $1.4 million. The state share would be $567,145; the local share will be $894,402, or about 61 percent.

The total project budget includes the Locally Funded Initiative fee of $615,062. This fee is calculated from a formula that takes into account the square footage of a district’s school buildings and the number of students it has.

To eliminate the LFI, the district would either have to tear down what’s considered excess or increase enrollment, Steenrod explained.

The money will be used to replace leaky roofs over the high school gym and high school building. The district will also replace old chillers at the high school and elementary schools. Chillers are used to operate the cooling systems.

As previously reported, commission funds are traditionally dispersed in August. The exception is being made because the funds approved this summer for projects in other districts aren’t being used, Steenrod had said. Many times, those districts were unsuccessful in passing levies that were required to come up with the local share. And so, the money isn't being dispersed.

In Federal Hocking’s case, the local share has already been set aside. In other words, the district won’t be seeking a levy to cover the local share. During the October meeting, board members approved a maximum local share of $900,000. The bulk of that money would come from carryover and board reserve funds and the remaining coming from permanent improvement funds.

Should the funding be awarded, the district hopes to start the projects this summer.