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Pickett Supports Reforms to School Construction Reimbursement Process
6/18/2014
HARRISBURG – Legislation to help school districts that are awaiting reimbursements from the state for construction projects is making its way through the Pennsylvania General Assembly, after having passed the House on June 9, said Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna), who voted for the measure.

“School districts that opt to request reimbursement from the state for construction projects face a mountain of red tape, along with years-long delays in many cases, in order to receive their checks,” Pickett said. “This not only prevents districts from recouping their costs in a timely fashion but also costs money while they wait. There is a better way to streamline this process, and that’s why we in the House have taken the lead on implementing a better system.”

House Bill 2124 reforms the construction reimbursement process with a goal of making it easier for districts to apply for state reimbursement and speeding up the reimbursement process for districts that have already applied. According to a May 2014 report from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 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.

Specifically, the legislation transforms the process from the Planning and Construction Workbook (PlanCon) into the Accountability and Reducing Costs in Construction Process (ARC Con). ARC Con streamlines the procedure from 11 steps into five steps, which allows school districts to save time and money while completing the application. ARC Con also attempts to save costs by focusing on the rehabilitation of old buildings rather than new construction.

Pickett pointed out that not only is the current PlanCon process cumbersome, but that it’s also outdated, by requiring districts to submit certain specifications via microfilm.

ARC Con also saves the Commonwealth money while allowing school districts to receive their reimbursement faster through a one-time lump-sum reimbursement of up 75 percent and reduce the need for districts to incur greater debt.

The bill, which currently awaits consideration by the Senate, is one of numerous other proposals already passed by the House that seeks to improve the education delivery system in Pennsylvania. They include measures to find ways to more equitably distribute state funding for basic and special education, hold school districts accountable for their spending, reform property taxes and add more oversight and accountability for charter schools.

“With public education as one of the top two expenditures in our state budget, we need to find ways to make every penny stretch as far as possible,” Pickett said. “This session, we’ve developed and passed legislation that seeks to bring more accountability into the educational system while ensuring that students receive a top-notch, quality education.”

Representative Tina Pickett
110th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton
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jkeaton@pahousegop.com  
RepPickett.com / Facebook.com/RepPickett
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