|Posted:||April 25, 2018 09:55 AM|
|From:||Senator Vincent J. Hughes|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Establishing a Public School Building Renovation and Rehabilitation Grant Program|
|In the near future I plan on introducing legislation to address the Commonwealth’s public school infrastructure crisis.
Research shows that high-quality public school facilities help improve student achievement, reduce truancy and suspensions, improve staff satisfaction and retention, and raise property values. High-quality public school facilities are also critical to ensuring equal opportunities for all students. According to a May 2016 national study on the state of the country’s public school facilities, Pennsylvania has failed to make the necessary annual maintenance investments in its public school buildings. The estimated gap in annual maintenance and operations funding for Pennsylvania’s public school buildings is $416 million, according to the report.
I’ve seen that first-hand in the public school buildings in my district and across the Commonwealth. Over the last several years, I have personally toured school buildings in Clairton, McKeesport, Harrisburg, and Scranton and discussed the conditions of existing school buildings with school leaders, teachers and students.
In order to address those needs, my bill establishes the Public School Building Renovation and Rehabilitation Grant Program administered through the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA). School districts will also be required to complete a facilities condition assessment. The CFA will be given the authority to issue up to $5 billion in bonds, paid for by revenue from an extraction tax on Marcellus Shale drilling. The bond proceeds will be used to provide grants to school districts to repair or renovate existing school buildings. Seventy-five percent of the available funding will be targeted at low-wealth school districts.
Please join me in sponsoring this proposal.
Introduced as SB1276