Reps. Bumgardner, Hewett, State Senator Formica Support School Funding Bill

June 30, 2015

HARTFORD – State Representatives Aundré Bumgardner (R-41) and Ernest Hewett (D-39) and State Senator Paul Formica (R-20) today applauded passage of a bill during the legislature’s special session that will help the city of New London pay for a major renovation of the high school and defray construction costs for the renovation of Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School as the district converts to an all magnet school plan.

HB 7102 – An Act Concerning Authorization of State Grant Commitments for School Building Projects and Changes to the Statutes Concerning School Building Projects – authorizes state grant commitments for school building projects, and requires the Department of Administrative Services to develop a standard checklist for construction projects of school buildings and establish a school building project clearinghouse.

The bill passed yesterday provides up to $98,026,000 for the high school construction and $1,549,385 for the Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School.

“I’m happy this bill passed unanimously and will allow the city of New London to renovate and enhance both New London High School and the Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School as they convert to the state’s first all magnet school district,” Rep. Bumgardner said. “As the beneficiary of an excellent magnet school education, I know that meaningful investments in our educational infrastructure yield results both in and outside of the classroom. Making the high school ADA compliant, among other things, will allow teachers and administrators to worry less about a furnace failing, and more about teaching and learning. Thank you to the rest of the New London legislative delegation, local municipal officials, New London School system, teachers, students, and the New London taxpayers for working as a team to make this happen.”

“I am pleased to be able to deliver on a commitment I made to New London to get our magnet school project back on track,” Rep. Hewett stated. “When I learned that our school construction plans were a roadblock based on a technicality, I knew we had to fix it. I am grateful to all the key players involved in working along with me and others to find a viable solution for this important project, including the new June 30, 2016 application deadline.”

Sen. Formica said, “The core responsibilities of government are public safety, transportation, public health and education. All students deserve a state of the art facility where they can learn and grow. This investment in New London to create an all magnet school district will be the start of a bright future for these students and their families.”

This legislation authorizes the administrative services (DAS) commissioner to enter into grant commitments on behalf of the state for 18 new school construction projects, and authorizes state grants totaling $181.2 million related to total project costs of $296.5 million.

Under the state school construction grant program, the state reimburses towns and local districts for a percentage of eligible school construction costs (with less wealthy towns receiving a higher reimbursement percentage) and pays 100% of technical high school costs. The state runs the Connecticut Technical High School System (CTHSS).

“As a member of the legislature’s education committee, I worked diligently with committee leadership to ensure these important school projects were placed on the priority list in order for the project to continue on time,” Rep. Bumgardner said.