By Jeff Gallatin
Representatives of the Ohio School Facilities Commission will tell North Olmsted City Schools officials in an April 11 meeting whether the state agency will provide funds to the district for middle school work, officials said. North Olmsted school officials made the application to the state commission earlier year, seeking funds for middle school needs.
“They told me that they’ve reviewed our application, analyzed all the data and have made a decision,” North Olmsted schools Superintendent Mike Zalar said.
The superintendent said he asked commission officials if the state needed any additional information or anything else.
“They indicated that they didn’t need anything else and that they would be informing me of the decision in the April 11 meeting,” he said.
Robert Matson, treasurer for the North Olmsted City Schools, said the state commission bases much of its decision upon a funding formula.
“They decide if the district can qualify as a school of need,” he said. “They examine numbers and data about the district and make a projection about how many students the district will have in five years, then use a formula to decide what they should give a district. For example, they look at how much space or square feet they think each student should have, and it will vary per school. A middle school will have different space needs than an elementary school student in their formula.”
Matson said the state funding goes for strictly educational needs or areas.
“They won’t let you use the state funds for a performing arts auditorium, for example,” Matson said. “You can do something like that in a project or add other bells and whistles, but you have to pay for them yourself and not with any state funds.”
Matson said if the commission officials approve some level of funding for North Olmsted, the district then goes onto a list to receive the funds.
“Basically, if they approve the district as a school of need, we’d be getting in line to get funds which they allocate to different districts each year,” he said.
Zalar said with North Olmsted currently engaged in an intensive review of facility needs in the district – both what needs to be done as well as how to meet those needs – the application and state decision are timely.
“If the application is approved, and then knowing what we can expect in terms of some assistance from the state, certainly would help the facilities review group, which is working on recommendations right now,” he said. “It also would help us so that we could inform the public that we could expect a certain level of assistance from the state, so this what we need to come up with as a community to get the facilities at whatever level we decide is appropriate.”
Zalar said he’s ready for the meeting.
“I’m looking forward to hearing what they have to say to us,” he said.