Grove Legislation Will Help Schools Control Construction Costs
5/24/2011

On Monday, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously approved legislation authored by Rep. Seth Grove (R-York) that would help school districts reduce construction costs by exempting districts not seeking state reimbursement from approval by the Pennsylvania Department of Education through its PLANCON process. 

“This legislation is part of the House Republican effort to reduce the cost of education by cutting the red tape,” said Grove.  “If a school district is not eligible for state reimbursement, it will no longer need state approval.  The PLANCON process has proven lengthy and expensive, and it is unnecessary if state dollars are not on the line.” 

Grove’s House Bill 257 would apply to school construction projects and leases not eligible for state reimbursement. 

House Republicans are pursuing education mandate relief as a way for school districts to reduce expenditures.  Other legislation aimed at assisting school districts, which Grove is co-sponsoring, includes: 

  • Rep. Will Tallman (R-Adams/York) has introduced House Bill 1306 to eliminate the requirement for school districts to expand or create new programs when they receive an increase in state funding. 
  • Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Forest/McKean) has authored House Bill 1363 to impose a two-year moratorium on the law requiring continuing professional development for teachers and administrators.
  • Rep. Brian Ellis (R-Butler) has offered House Bill 1411 to limit data collection from school districts to include only federally required data or data that is reimbursed by the Commonwealth. 
  • Rep. Scott Boyd’s (R-Lancaster) House Bill 855 would allow school districts to furlough professional staff for economic reasons, using performance and certification criteria. 
  • House Education Committee Chairman Paul Clymer (R-Bucks) has proposed House Bill 1407 to extend certification timelines for early childhood educators and review all early childhood programs for better administration and coordination, with the goal of reducing redundancy and educating more children with the same amount of funds. 
  • Rep. Kathy Watson (R-Bucks) has proposed a complete overhaul of PLANCON, the Commonwealth’s process for school construction and reimbursement.  

Grove noted that he is also advocating House Bill 1326, which would eliminate all exceptions allowed under Special Session Act 1 of 2006, through which school districts can increase property taxes above the state-set index. 

“As we are working to help school districts control their costs, we also have to support our property owners who are being crushed by property taxes,” said Grove.  “School districts should examine whether current spending is sustainable and make every effort to prioritize.  The teachers and administrators in many districts have come together to accept a pay freeze this year, and I applaud them for making such a sacrifice which is reflective of the economic realities of workers in the private sector.” 

House Bill 257 will now go to the Senate for consideration.  More information about Grove and his legislative priorities is available at RepGrove.com and Facebook.com/RepGrove.  

State Representative Seth Grove
196th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Nicole Wamsley
nwamsley@pahousegop.com
717.783.8063
Twitter.com/RepGrove

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