Lawmakers: Bill could improve schools for students with developm - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Lawmakers: Bill could improve schools for students with developmental disabilities

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Representatives John Boccieri and Michele Lepore-Hagan detailed House Bill 246 at the Leonard Kirtz School in Youngstown.  

The bill, which had its first hearing earlier this week, would allow county boards of developmental disabilities to request funds from the state to improve school facilities that serve students with disabilities.

"Right now we have about 2,000 students with developmental disabilities across Ohio and this could be the difference maker for our communities," said Representative John Bocceiri.

Representative Bocceiri says there is currently $1.6 billion dollars in the state's Schools Facilities Trust Fund.  School districts across Ohio can request those dollars to improve their facilities.  However, the 45 county boards of developmental disabilities have never had that opportunity.

"Traditionally, boards of DD have had the burden of using all local tax dollars to do renovations to our facilities," said Bill Whitacre the superintendent with the Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

If this bill were to become law, boards of developmental disabilities would be able to request funds from the state to help modernize classrooms and update facilities to make them more accessible.

"We must provide the most vulnerable members of our society an opportunity to grow and develop in happiness and to attend a school where the atmosphere is conducive for learning," said Representative Michele Lepore-Hagan.

Since the first reading of the bill occurred just this week, Representative Bocceiri anticipates some changes to the language of the bill, but he says those changes should only enhance it.  Because of its bipartisan support, he anticipates this bill eventually becoming law.

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