Grove’s School Construction Reform Bill Headed for House Floor
4/30/2014
HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania’s school districts and taxpayers are losing money and time when districts attempt to complete building renovation projects. Rep. Seth Grove (R-Dover) authored House Bill 2124 to fix this problem, and get costs and construction back on track for Commonwealth students, school officials, and tax paying residents. Today, the legislation was passed by the House Education Committee.

“Currently, when a school district embarks on a major building rehabilitation or construction project, they reach out to the state for reimbursement and begin a process called PlanCon,” Grove said. “The process is a regulatory nightmare of 14 steps including nearly 200 pages of forms in the first step alone, and one step requiring documents to be submitted by microfilm. It is antiquated, inefficient and, worst of all, the state can no longer meet its financial obligations. My legislation simplifies and streamlines the process, and gets the state back on track.”

The state’s PlanCon system is currently halted in a moratorium as the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has no way to reimburse the projects already in the system. During a committee hearing on this bill, PDE acknowledged the financial troubles, admitting they owed school districts $1.7 billion from promised PlanCon reimbursements.

House Bill 2124 reforms PlanCon into the Accountability and Reducing Costs in Construction Process (ARC Con). ARC Con streamlines the process from 14 steps into five steps, which allows school districts to save time and money in the application process. ARC Con also attempts to save costs by rehabilitating old buildings whenever possible. ARC Con further works to reform PlanCon by reducing costs on new projects for the Commonwealth by 10 percent.

Additionally, ARC Con saves the Commonwealth money while allowing school districts to receive their reimbursement faster through a one-time lump-sum reimbursement of up 75 percent of the reimbursement. Currently, districts could wait years before receiving their full reimbursement. Providing a majority of the reimbursement up front saves the Commonwealth 25 percent on the project overall cost by eliminating interest, and also eliminates the backlog PDE is currently facing.

These lump-sum payments reduce debt obligations of school districts as the last decade saw school district debt increase 38 percent. By reducing the debt obligation of school districts, we assist them in focusing on their goal of educating students. ARC Con not only reduces costs but would also provide transparency by creating a website which school districts can access and see where their project is in the process.

House Bill 2124 will soon face a vote before the full House.

For more information on Grove’s legislative goals visit www.repgrove.com or www.Facebook.com/RepSethGrove.

Representative Seth Grove
196th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Mike Straub
717.260.6479
mstraub@pahousegop.com  
RepGrove.com / Facebook.com/RepSethGrove
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