Letter to the Editor, Aug. 19, 2014
Reforming the antiquated school construction process and state reimbursement
EDITOR: The purpose of this letter is to encourage citizens to contact their state representatives to encourage them to support House Bill 2124. When school districts wish to construct new buildings or renovate older ones, they must wade through a lengthy, cumbersome process of applying to the Pennsylvania Department of Education and complete a process titled "PlanCon." Bill 2124 would consolidate and modernize the PlanCon process and would provide digitization and transparency of construction records along with reducing the 11 step process down to a 5 step process. Currently, PlanCon requires paperwork on microfilm rather than electronic submission.
The Wyalusing Area School District received over $638,000 in reimbursements from the state last year for our recent building projects, but some other districts have not been so lucky. The state put a moratorium on reimbursements for two years for certain projects that were "in the pipeline" which caused financial hardship for some districts. The moratorium was recently lifted, but still problems linger. The passage of Bill 2124 will improve the entire PlanCon process and keep school construction/renovation projects moving along which not only benefits students, but also benefits the economy by providing construction and related services jobs throughout the state.
It is important that the state reimburse districts for a portion of school construction/renovation costs and not shift the burden to local taxpayers. Please contact your state representatives today and ask them to support House Bill 2124. It is good for students, good for school districts, and good for taxpayers!
Wyalusing Area School District