Stinziano Seeks Greater Return of Taxpayer Dollars in the Sale of School Property

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- School boards of education disposing of unneeded real estate could realize a greater return of hard-earned taxpayer dollars under amendments being proposed to legislation currently under consideration in the Ohio House, state Rep. Michael Stinziano says.

Stinziano, a Columbus Democrat, says that he will work with the Education Committee to offer amendments changing the way school districts sell real estate to charter schools that reflects the way real estate is commonly bought and sold.

“School districts should be required to sell taxpayer-owned school property to the highest bidder if the bid is equal to or greater than the appraised fair market value of the property,” Stinziano said. “Also, any charter school purchasing public school property should be required use that property only for educational purposes and not be able to “flip” the property to developers or use the property for other than educational purposes.”

“Anyone who has bought or sold a home knows that the first offer on the table, even if it comes in at or above the appraised value of the property, is not necessarily the highest offer that a seller will receive for the property,” Stinziano said.  “Current law which requires school boards to sell real estate to the first charter school offering to purchase the property at its appraised value makes no sense and likely shortchanges taxpayers.”

“The recent decision of the Columbus City Schools blocking the sale of Everett Middle School located a block off of High Street in my district is a good example of why these common sense changes are needed in Ohio law,” Stinziano said.  “Had the Board not acted quickly, the 2001 state law that requires the sale of school property to the first charter school that signs a contract could have resulted in the sale of Everett at a price probably far lower than it is actually worth.”

Stinziano will seek to have the amendments added to House Bill 2, a charter school reform proposal currently being considered before the House Education Committee.