House Passes Grove’s School Construction Reform Bill
6/12/2014
HARRISBURG – Reform is one step closer for Pennsylvania’s school construction reimbursement process, after the state House Monday passed House Bill 2124, authored by Rep. Seth Grove (R-York). The bill was created to address the loss of taxpayer and school district funds and to modernize the process. In addition, the bill seeks to eliminate the backlog of projects not receiving reimbursement.

“Currently, when a school district applies for reimbursement from the state on a construction or renovation project, it begins the Planning and Construction Workbook process, also known as PlanCon,” Grove said. “This is a complicated, archaic regulatory process involving 11 steps. Just the application portion is more than 200 pages of paperwork and some steps even involve the submission of documents by microfilm, which was state-of-the-art technology in the 1920s. It is time to move this process into the 21st century and this bill does that.”

According to a May 2014 Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) report, 200 projects are awaiting reimbursement, with a cost of $105 million. House Bill 2124 provides savings of up to $112 million to move those projects forward.

House Bill 2124 reforms PlanCon into the Accountability and Reducing Costs in Construction Process (ARC Con). ARC Con streamlines the process from 11 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 focusing on the rehabilitation of old buildings rather than new construction.

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. Currently, districts could wait years before receiving their full reimbursement. Furthermore, lump sum payments reduce the need for debt. Between 2002 and 2010, school district debt grew by 30 percent, or $7.2 billion.

“These lump-sum payments help reduce the debt obligations of our Commonwealth’s school districts,” Grove added. “By helping districts eliminate debt, we are assisting districts in getting back to their primary goal of educating students.”

Representative Seth Grove
196th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Nick Ruffner
717.260.6258
RepGrove.com / Facebook.com/RepSethGrove
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