Kilroy discusses funding at Franklin Heights
Since that did not happen, Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy was able to select the dilapidated building to tout the merits of the House of Representative’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“The funds will create jobs in the local communities and make a down payment on the future prosperity of working families,” Kilroy’s press release stated.
If approved by the Senate and signed by President Barack Obama, $150 million would be directed to central Ohio. South-Western would receive approximately $16 million and Columbus City Schools would receive $110 million.
The money would be earmarked for construction and special needs students.
As opposed to President George W. Bush’s economic stimulus plan in which “obscene bonus money went to Wall Street,” this money would be responsibly invested, Kilroy said.
“I know in my heart that school systems will spend the money wisely. I hope the funds help keep people at work and help put plans in effect,” Kilroy said.
“I am excited about the potential money, (however) these are targeted grant dollars that will not alleviate our general funding issues,” said SWCS Superintendent Dr. Bill Wise. “It would allow us to take care of a few immediate needs.”
Worthington School District officials joined Kilroy and the SWCS representatives for a roundtable discussion.
Representatives from both districts told Kilroy that while they appreciated the money, they feared it might hurt their bond and levy issues. Voters may falsely believe that federal and state money fulfilled local needs.
“This can help, but it will not take the place of local levy funds,” Kilroy said.
To bring all buildings within the SWCS “up to the current standards,” the district would need $468 million, the House bill provides only $6 million for construction, Wise explained.
How to spend any construction money would be a challenge for the school board. The district could replace the leaky roof on Franklin Heights, but would that be a wise long-term decision considering the building is ultimately slated for demolition?, Wise said.
SWCS will return to the ballot in May asking voters to approve an operating levy. The board has yet to determine whether to pursue a millage of 9.2 or 11.5. At 9.2-mills, the levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 house about $288 per year. At 11.5-mills, the same owner would pay $357 per year.