Huntington Local Schools Administrators, Superintendent Pete Ruby and Principals Heidi Gray and Craig Kerns attended a ceremony today introducing the Accelerated Appalachian School Building Assistance Program. The ceremony was held at Reedsville Eastern High School in Meigs County and sponsored by the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools. State Reps. Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) and Shane Wilkin (R-Hillsboro) have crafted this new legislation to increase equity in education.
The legislation will create an Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) program for public school districts in Appalachian Ohio who have not yet gone through the OFCC building construction process to date.
This legislation is modeled off of the existing Accelerated Urban School Building Assistance Program, which became law in 2000. The Accelerated Urban program has produced 250 new school buildings for six urban districts over the last 20 years. Because of the Accelerated Urban program, the state has invested $10,000 more, per student, in urban Ohio school buildings than in Appalachian buildings.
The Accelerated Appalachian School Building Assistance Program limits eligibility to school districts with full or partial residency in one of Ohio's 32 counties federally designated as Appalachian. The program also includes a levy incentive, which is designed to encourage voters to pass school facility levies on the first try, for an increased state share of the project.
Representatives Shane Wilkin and Representative Jay Edwards have proposed $600 million be appropriated to begin the Program.