A Statement from the Board of Education on Facilities Master Planning
A Message from the Shaker Heights Board of Education:
As part of the ongoing master planning process and evaluation of our facility needs, the Board is approaching a deadline to remain eligible for the 24% State co-funding under the Ohio School Facilities Commission’s Classroom Facilities Assistance Program (CFAP). Therefore the Board wants to ensure that our community is aware of what this decision does and does not do in terms of its impact on future actions relating to our facilities.
Over the last few months the Board has learned a number of things and wishes to highlight a few key elements of this program:
There is no penalty for districts that approve a plan under the program and subsequently choose not to utilize the funding. In fact, more than 100 districts across Ohio have selected this path.
- Plans under the State program should be designed to allocate students in a manner which fills individual buildings based on the State square footage standards. This is true even if there is no intention to actually move students as described in the plan. This may result in a plan for the State which contains different grade configurations and even the appearance of building closures, but the District is under no obligation to actually execute those changes.
- Once a plan is approved by the Commission, the State will earmark the funds described under its terms for up to 13 months pending the District securing its share of the funding.
- Within that 13-month period, districts can seek approval for plan modifications or segmentation for funding purposes. This allows districts to change the terms of the plan and designate which portions of the plan are funded within the initial 13 months, but it is far easier to modify a plan or segment a plan in a manner which reduces the amount of State co-funding.
- If a district does not act on a Master Plan, it is ineligible for funding under the current cycle and may re-enter at a later date with no guarantee of its priority or its amount of state contribution.
- If a district submits a plan and receives approval but does not act on that plan within 13 months, the plan will lapse. Districts with lapsed plans will be eligible for future cycles based on their priority among other lapsed districts, but the percentage of State co-funding may change.
As the Board has reviewed these details it has become clear that unless we are certain we do not want to utilize the State funding either now or at a future date, it is prudent to approve a plan which meets the State guidelines and maximizes the potential state contribution. Because this will be described as a Master Plan for the District, the Board believes it is important the community knows that the terms of that plan are designed to maintain eligibility for State co-funding and do not reflect an action plan for the District. Even after submitting a plan under CFAP, the Board will continue to explore and develop a long-term plan for our schools and support facilities. The community input received to date has been a critical component of this process and the Board will continue to seek community input and expert guidance as we work to finalize a plan to guide our actions moving forward.
– May 9, 2016