Pa. House OKs school construction payment process


Make text smaller Make text larger



Photos




By PETER JACKSON

— The state House of Representatives on June 10 approved a bill to modernize the handling of state reimbursements for school construction projects amid Democrats' criticism that it won't help cash-strapped districts.

The 109-86 vote will send the measure to the Senate.

The bill would create an electronic database of construction projects and streamline what is now a largely paper-driven system administered by the Department of Education, said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Seth Grove.

A moratorium on new reimbursement applications, proposed by Gov. Tom Corbett and approved by the Legislature, was imposed in Oct. 2012. The state has limited reimbursements to $296 million a year since then.

Grove, R-York, said he hopes an additional $105 million will be appropriated in the state budget that starts July 1 so that about 200 projects that are awaiting reimbursements can begin receiving payments.

“It's a solid bill" that will help school districts, Grove said, noting that supporters of the measure include groups that represent school boards, school administrators and school business officials.

But competition for state funding is expected to be fierce in the face of a potential $1 billion-plus state budget shortfall. Members of the Democratic minority noted that the additional funding is not contained in Grove's bill.

“This bill will do nothing to help them get reimbursed," said Rep. Steven Santarsiero, D-Bucks.

“What we have is one more broken promise" from the Republicans, said House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, R-Allegheny.

A Democratic motion to recommit the bill to the Education Committee was defeated 110-85.

Grove said the bill could produce millions in additional savings, including a provision that would require school districts to wait 30 years for reimbursement, instead of the 20 years currently required, with exceptions allowed for natural disasters and other emergencies.

Another provision targets at least $70 million in reimbursements to school districts that haven't completed the paperwork necessary to collect the money. It would give them three months to do so or the funds could be reallocated to other districts, Grove said.

The State Public School Building Authority also is working with school districts to refinance their debt to save an estimated $39 million, he said.


Make text smaller Make text larger

Comments

Pool Rules



MUST READ NEWS

Image Maintenance work underway at Roebling Bridge
LACKAWAXEN — Maintenance work on the National Historic Landmark Roebling Bridge (Roebling’s Delaware Aqueduct) is now underway...
Image Chamber awards dinner rescheduled
— Businesses and business leaders across Pike County will be honored at the 2017 Pike County Chamber of Commerce Chamber Champions...
Philly DA hopeful Krasner wants addict injection clinics
(AP) Larry Krasner, the Democrat running for district attorney in Philadelphia, says he'd like to see supervised injection clinics where addicts can safely inject themselves with...
Image Newton Theatre to present A Christmas Carol
— The Newton Theatre will present "A Christmas Carol" at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 14.
This hour-long musical...

VIDEOS



Sign up to get our newsletter emailed to you every week!

  • Enter your email address in the box below.
  • Select the newsletters you would like to subscribe to.
  • Click the 'SUBSCRIBE' button.



MOST READ

Local News
What's in your child's school lunch?
  • Sep 16, 2017
Entertainment
Readers and Writers Festival gets busy
  • Sep 14, 2017
Where in clues
Pike's Peek
  • Sep 14, 2017
Entertainment
St. Joseph's to hold tricky tray
  • Sep 17, 2017
Local News
Venturing toward Alaska
  • Sep 13, 2017
Local News
Delaware River frack ban moves forward
  • Sep 14, 2017

MOST COMMENTED



Weather in Milford, PA