Grove Bill to Simplify School Construction Reimbursement Process Passes Committee
2/4/2015
HARRISBURG – Legislation introduced by Rep. Seth Grove (R-York) that would create a more efficient and effective mechanism to reimburse school districts for costs associated with construction projects unanimously passed the House Education Committee today, garnering broad bipartisan support.

The measure, House Bill 210, proposes to replace PlanCon (also known as the “Planning Construction Workbook”) with a new system called ArcCon, which stands for the “Accountability and Reducing Costs in Construction Process.”

Currently, when a school district undertakes a major construction project and seeks reimbursement from the Commonwealth, PlanCon is initiated. This cumbersome and time-consuming process requires state Department of Education approval at 11 separate stages. Furthermore, PlanCon has been beleaguered by funding constraints, causing delays in payments to school districts that have, in some cases, taken years to resolve. PlanCon has also been criticized for a lack of transparency.

“Delayed construction reimbursements have placed significant financial strain on school districts, many of which are struggling to avoid teacher layoffs and prevent program disruptions,” said Grove. “The legislation I have introduced would of minimize construction costs, speed reimbursement and reduce bureaucracy.”

ArcCon would create a fully transparent system, with a searchable database of school construction projects available online. It would direct the Department of Education to issue reimbursements in the order they are approved rather than haphazard fashion. It also would require the state and school districts to work together to ensure that the construction of new facilities is more cost effective than renovating or expanding existing facilities.

“Because of increased allocations in the current budget, updated Fiscal Code language and money made available from projects being fully funded, 44 school districts have been reimbursed a total of more than $44 million,” said Grove. “Furthermore, I expect up to $53 million in additional funding to become available because of the Fiscal Code language and money being made available from projects being fully funded. This brings total funding to $97 million.”

The bill now awaits full consideration by the full House.

Representative Seth Grove
196th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Nick Ruffner, 717.260.6258
nruffner@pahousegop.com
RepGrove.com / Facebook.com/RepSethGrove
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