WV Bond Sale Nets $103M For School Construction

The first step in a 20-year funding plan for West Virginia school construction is being approved, the state School Building Authority is finalizing a $103.4 million bond sale package.

Because of the sale, county school officials can expect an extra $20 million in SBA construction funding this year, a total of $75 million in 2009 and then $55 million in 2010, according to SBA director Mark Manchin.

The sale means West Virginia’s economy will get a $400 million shot in the arm over the next three years because of taxes, wages and materials paid for during construction.

Manchin says for every $1 spent by the SBA, $4 is generated for the economy.

Since it was created in 1989, the SBA has paid out more than $1 billion for school construction and renovation.

He estimates the state has at least $2 billion in construction and renovation needs.

That figure is expected to increase as the cost of construction continues to rise.

During the past four years, the cost of an average elementary school in West Virginia has risen from $4.5 million to between $8 million and $10 million, Manchin said.

In 2011 the SBA will go back out and try to secure another $100 million in funding.

The three-year cycle will continue until at least 2028, he said.

The SBA went to the market this year after receiving legislative support for a measure that allows the agency to use its excess lottery funds to pay off the bonds.

The agency receives about $19 million in excess lottery funds annually.