CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH

My Opinion

July 12, 2012

My Opinion: July 12, 2012

(Continued)

4. School building aid will be paid up front in two payments. The first payment will be 80% of the estimated eligible amount upon approval and the balance upon completion of the project. This will save taxpayers money as a District will not have to bond the total amount of money needed as has been done in the past.

5. The basic formula for aid based on multi-town arrangements is gone. The amount of aid will be based on median family income and equalized valuation per pupil. The amounts range from 30% to 60%.

6. Charter schools are eligible for 30%, but they will have to make the cut like everyone else and will have to meet the criteria found under (3.) above.

7. SAU offices and portable classrooms are no longer eligible.

8. The 25% of the cost for Career & Technical Education (CTE) centers not covered by the CTE aid is no longer eligible for regular building aid.

9. Any future aid for leases will be through an appropriation separate from building aid.

10. The additional 3% incentive for high performance school buildings is gone. Building projects will need to be cost effective and efficient. School construction aid dollars will not be available for unnecessary items or for excessive space.

11. The bill initially caps the total amount at $50 million per year. This will allow for budgeting. Projects that cannot be funded in one year may be re-submitted in another year.

12. If construction aid is used, the building must be used for 20 years as a school, or the construction aid funds must be repaid to the state.

13. A 20 year maintenance plan is required. There has long been contention that some districts fail to maintain their schools.

The NH Department of Education plans to hold information sessions around the state next year, after interim rules have been developed, in order to help school boards understand the process.

(Editor's Note: NH State Representative Mike Kappler can be reached at l.mikekappler@comcast.net.)

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