STEUBENVILLE - State officials have lauded Steubenville's city school district for its fiscal savvy.
The school district completed its $32 million Building Excellent Schools for Tomorrow Project without going to the tax payers for a school levy.
The project was funded through the Ohio School Facilities Commission, which covered 77 percent, and Qualified Zone Academy Bonds - interest-free qualified government academy bonds - as well as a $1 million donation from the Charles M. and Thelma M. Pugliese Foundation and donations from community members.
Five years ago school officials in this Jefferson County district set out to modernize their school buildings. Through the project, the school district reduced its school buildings from eight to five. A new elementary school was built, and renovations and modernizations were made at the former Garfield Elementary School and the high school downtown.
A few years earlier, Warren also was planning to downsize and improve its buildings through a construction project in partnership with OSFC - but at cost to taxpayers.
Warren taxpayers in 2003 approved the district's request for a 5.5-mill bond issue, plus an additional mill for permanent improvements and maintenance, and started paying on the 28-year debt in 2004. Under the funding agreement, the OSFC footed 81 percent of the district's $132 million construction project, about $105 million, leaving Warren to raise the remaining 19 percent, or $26.6 million.