PA 12-179—HB 5358

Education Committee

Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING AUTHORIZATION OF STATE GRANT COMMITMENTS FOR SCHOOL BUILDING PROJECTS AND CONCERNING CHANGES TO THE STATUTES CONCERNING SCHOOL BUILDING PROJECTS

SUMMARY:

This act authorizes $344. 5 million in grant commitments for 20 local school construction, vocational agriculture (vo-ag), and interdistrict magnet school projects. It also reauthorizes and changes grant commitments for three previously authorized projects with significant changes in cost and scope. Of the three reauthorizations, two are reauthorized at reduced, and one at increased, cost. The total net increase in grant commitments for the reauthorizations is $8. 82 million.

Furthermore, the act approves various exemptions, waivers, and changes for either new authorizations or changes to previous authorizations for an additional state cost of $141. 3 million. It also makes changes to the diversity school construction grant program.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

1 — NEW AUTHORIZATIONS

Table 1: New School Construction Projects Authorized

District

School

Project

Estimated Cost

Estimated Grant

State

Reimbursement

Berlin

Berlin High School

Extension & alteration/roof replacement

$69,950,000

$32,974,430

47. 14%

Brooklyn

Brooklyn Middle School

Extension & alteration

1,700,000

1,250,690

73. 57%

Danbury

Danbury High School

Energy conservation

4,073,767

2,196,983

53. 93%

Eastford

Eastford Elementary School

Energy conservation

150,000

90,000

60. 00%

Guilford

Guilford High School

New school

92,220,800

28,653,003

31. 07%

Hartford

West Middle School

Extension & alteration/roof replacement

54,600,000

43,680,000

80. 0%

Hartford

Hartford Magnet Middle School*

Extension & alteration/ magnet school

29,440,000

23,552,000

80. 0%

Hartford

Burns Academy for Latino Studies

Alteration

700,000

557,480

79. 64%

Meriden

Maloney High School

Extension & alteration/roof replacement

107,500,000

82,925,500

77. 14%

Meriden

Platt High School

Extension & alteration/roof replacement

111,800,000

86,242,520

77. 14%

Middletown

Middletown Vo-Ag Center

Vo-ag equipment

50,000

47,500

95. 00%

Region 6

Wamogo Regional High School (Vo-Ag)

Vo-ag equipment

309,800

294,310

95. 00%

Region 14

Nonnewaug High School (Vo-Ag)

Vo-ag equipment/construction

246,101

233,796

95. 00%

Region 14

Nonnewaug High School (Vo-Ag)

Vo-ag equipment

246,508

234,183

95. 00%

Southington

Carl M. Small Regional Vo-Ag Center

Vo-ag equipment

259,753

246,765

95. 00%

Stratford

Stratford High School

Extension & alteration/roof replacement

56,115,586

28,057,793

50. 00%

Vernon

Rockville High Vo-Ag Center

Vo-ag equipment

154,095

146,390

95. 00%

Waterbury

Bucks Hill School

Alteration

500,000

394,650

78. 93%

Waterbury

Cross School

Alteration

450,000

355,185

78. 93%

Waterbury

Wallace Middle/Crosby High

Extension & alteration

15,758,000

12,381,061

78. 57%

*See 14 of notwithstanding provisions for more on this project.

1 — REAUTHORIZED PROJECTS

Table 2 lists the projects proposed for reauthorization because of significant (more than 10%) changes in cost or scope.

Table 2: Reauthorization of Previously Authorized Projects

District

School

Project

Previous Grant Authorization

New Grant Authorization

Change

Griswold

Griswold Middle School

Extension & alteration/roof replacement

$25,013,800

$22,584,018

($2,429,782)

Milford

Jonathan Law High School

Extension & alteration/ energy conservation

2,141,150

1,620,839

(520,311)

Capitol Region Education Council (CREC)

Medical professions & Teacher Preparation Magnet Academy

New magnet school/site purchase

49,509,654

61,281,840

11,772,186

SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION “NOTWITHSTANDINGS”

The act exempts certain school construction projects from various statutory and regulatory requirements to allow them to (1) qualify for state grants or (2) waive a repayment (i. e. , “clawback”) requirement due to the project failing to meet an existing requirement. These exemptions are referred to as “notwithstanding” provisions. Table 3 summarizes each exemption and any applicable conditions.

Table 3. Notwithstanding Provisions for Local School Projects

District

Project

Exemption, Waiver, or Other Change

2

Griswold

Griswold Elementary School

Space specification waiver.

3

Colchester

William J Johnston Middle School

Application deadline extension until November 30, 2012.

4

Bethel

Bethel High School

Waives repayment of funds by allowing enrollment figure of 1,140.

5

Meriden

Francis T. Maloney High School & Orville H. Platt High School

Changes extension and alteration projects to renovation projects: space specification waivers; provides full rather than one-half reimbursement for natatorium or auditorium.

6

North Branford

North Branford High School

Permits bid prior to plan approval

7

Windham

Windham Magnet School

Changes use of site acquisition grant for other construction purposes.

8

West Hartford

Aiken Elementary School

Permits bid prior to plan approval

9

West Hartford

Bugbee Elementary School

Permits bid prior to plan approval

10

West Hartford

Conard High School

Provides reimbursement eligibility for $250,000 athletic field illumination

11

West Hartford

Hall High School

Provides reimbursement eligibility for $250,000 athletic field illumination

13

Stamford

Rippowam Middle School

Waives repayment of funds by allowing enrollment figure of 1,400.

14

Hartford

Hartford Magnet Middle School

Sets reimbursement rate at 95% rather than 80%.

15

Region 14

Woodbury Middle School

Waives repayment of funds by allowing enrollment figure of 727 and a grade range of six to eight.

16

New London

New London High School

Application deadline extension until November 1, 2012.

17

Middletown

Lawrence Elementary School

Waives repayment of funds by allowing enrollment figure of 475.

18

Middletown

Wesley Elementary School

Waives repayment of funds by allowing enrollment figure of 450.

19

New London

Magnet District

Maintains per pupil magnet grant eligibility by waiving minimum student population requirement of students from outside magnet host town

20

Guilford

Guilford Public High School

Eliminates clawback of up to $615,000 for building redirection for non-education purpose.

21

Waterford

Waterford High School

Changes extension and alteration project to renovation project; permits bid prior to plan approval.

22

Fairfield

Warde High School

Waives roof replacement requirements and permits bid prior to plan approval.

23

Bridgeport

Longfellow School

Changes project description from extension and renovation to new construction provided the increase in the grant commitment is not more than $23. 2 million and construction begins by June 30, 2014.

24

Bridgeport

Columbus School

Increases project cost eligibility up to $1. 5 million to meet removal cost of PCB contamination.

25

New Haven

Engineering and Science University Magnet School

Maintains reimbursement rate at 95% rather than 80% as long as construction begins by June 30, 2014.

26

Achievement First

Achievement First Amistad High School

Makes project eligible for state aid provided project cost is not above $35 million and application is submitted before June 30, 2013. Reimbursement rate is 68. 93% of eligible costs.

27

CREC

Various projects

Increases eligible cost of various projects and changes project descriptions.

28

CREC

Various projects

Makes cost of short-term financing eligible for state reimbursement.

29

Common Ground

Common Ground High School

Makes project eligible for state aid provided project cost is not above $4 million and application is submitted before June 30, 2013.

30

Hartford

Weaver High School

Allows project eligibility provided cost is not above $2. 1 million and grant application is submitted before June 30, 2013.

12 — DIVERSITY SCHOOL PROJECT GRANTS

By law, the Department of Construction Services commissioner, in consultation with the State Department of Education must provide special school construction grants for school districts that have one or more schools with minority enrollments that exceed the district-wide average percentage of minority enrollment by more than 25% for the same grades (i. e. , schools that have a disproportionately high minority population). The grants reimburse these districts for 80% of the reasonable capital costs for school renovation and construction projects, which for all districts except Hartford is higher than the standard reimbursement.

The law sets requirements for the grant including: (1) the diversity school must be open to all students living in the district for the purpose of correcting the existing minority enrollment disparity and (2) the school board must demonstrate that it has made a good faith effort to correct the disparity, as determined by the education commissioner.

The act repeals the requirements that the education commissioner (1) conduct a programmatic audit of each diversity school and (2) require the district to pay back over 20 years any reimbursement above the district's standard rate if the school has not made any significant progress to correct the school or schools' minority enrollment disparity. The act adds a requirement that the application for the grant must include a plan to correct the existing minority enrollment disparity.

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