HB 604 – AS AMENDED BY THE HOUSE
HOUSE BILL 604
This bill requires the commissioner of the department of education to prioritize school building proposals according to the type of construction or renovation proposed.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [
in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eleven
AN ACT relative to the procedures for approval of plans, specifications, and costs of school building construction or renovation.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
1 School Building Aid; Approval of Plans, Specifications, and Costs. Amend RSA 198:15-c to read as follows:
198:15-c Approval of Plans, Specifications, and Costs of Construction or Purchase.
I. A school district maintaining approved schools, desiring to avail itself of the grants herein provided shall have the plans, specifications, and cost estimates for school plant construction or proposals for the purchase of school buildings, or both, and the costs for them approved by the state board prior to the start of construction. For this purpose the district shall submit its plans, specifications, cost, and purchase estimates in writing to the department of education no later than September 1 of the fiscal year prior to the fiscal year in which the first grant payment is to be made on such forms as the department prescribes. A school district shall also submit a copy of any application for energy efficiency reimbursement under RSA 374-F. The department of education shall coordinate with the public utilities commission to ensure that eligible school districts have submitted applications for funding reimbursement and technical assistance as available from energy utility companies to promote indoor air quality and energy efficiency in public schools. [
Application for school building aid shall be submitted before January 1 of each year in order to be eligible for school building aid in the fiscal year following the year of submittal.]
II.(a) The commissioner shall accept school building aid applications based upon completeness and submit a preliminary school building aid list to the school building authority established pursuant to RSA 195-C. By December 1 of each fiscal year, the school building authority shall develop a rank ordered list of all school building construction and renovation aid proposals submitted by school districts and shall categorize each proposal based on school building and site criteria in descending order. The school building authority shall recommend prioritized proposals to be funded in descending rank order to the state board of education for approval. School districts which have projects approved for funding shall be notified by the department of education of the projected amount to be funded by January 15.
(b) The project rating system and criteria used to rate project applications, which shall include an administrative review process for appeal of a school district’s project point rating, shall be developed by the department of education and be approved by the state board of education no later than November 1, 2013. All rules necessary to implement this section shall be adopted pursuant to RSA 541-A.
(c) A ranking system in support of primary categories criteria shall include consideration of unsafe conditions; obsolete, inefficient, or unsuitable facilities or mechanical and building systems; overcrowding and associated influences to instructional areas and programming; enrollment projections and population shifts; and other conditions as determined necessary. The ranking system shall also include criteria to determine if a school district has made a reasonable attempt to accommodate maintenance activities including scheduled and unscheduled repairs, upkeep, minor alterations, enhancements to buildings, and preventative maintenance necessary to achieve the design life expectancy of building systems and components.
(d) Those proposals not approved and funded shall be considered for funding in the next biennial budget. Available resources will determine the number of designated projects to be funded during any one funding cycle.
(e) Emergency requests shall be dealt with on a case-by-case basis as deemed appropriate by the state board of education.
III. The department of education shall not approve the plans, specifications, cost, or purchase estimates, if in the department’s judgment the facilities planned will not adequately meet the educational requirements, or if its cost estimates are excessive or unreasonable. The department of education shall not approve the plans, specifications, cost, or purchase estimates if in the department’s judgment the proposed construction or purchase is in conflict with effective statewide planning pursuant to RSA 9-A or the principles of smart growth pursuant to RSA 9-B. Necessary costs of the purchase of school buildings may be determined by any recognized method of real estate appraisal with appropriate adjustments for remodeling or other expenditures. Upon approval of the construction or purchase, or both, by the department of education, the school district shall be entitled to receive an annual grant as provided herein.
2 School Building Aid; Proration and Unexpended Funds. Amend RSA 198:15-e to read as follows:
198:15-e Proration and Unexpended Funds. [
If] In any fiscal year, the amount appropriated for distribution as school building grants in accordance with RSA 198:15-b shall first be awarded to a school district for an eligible project approved in a prior fiscal year. If the amount appropriated is insufficient [ therefor, grants for eligible construction work approved by the legislative body of the school district since the approval of the most recent state biennial budget shall be deferred and included in a request for a future appropriation, or partial grants may be made to the extent of the available appropriation. Any partial grant made shall be prorated proportionally among all districts with eligible construction work approved since the approval of the most recent biennial budget. The department of education shall include any unpaid grant amounts in the next biennial budget or request a supplemental appropriation. If the amount appropriated is insufficient after deducting all grants approved since the approval of the most recent biennial budget,] the appropriation shall be prorated proportionally among the districts entitled to a grant. If the amount appropriated exceeds the amount necessary to fully fund grants to a school district for eligible construction in a previous year, the remaining amount of the appropriation shall be awarded to a school district for an eligible new proposal in the ranked order developed pursuant to RSA 198:15-c, ll(a). Such a district shall receive a grant equal to 100 percent of the eligible amount of the request until the amount appropriated has been exhausted. A partial grant may be awarded to the extent that funds are available. If a school district declines a full or partial grant, a grant shall be made to the next ranked school district until the amount appropriated has been exhausted. Any amounts not distributed in the first year of any biennium may be distributed in the second year if required to distribute the maximum amount permissible under RSA 198:15-a.
3 Effective Date. This act shall take effect July 1, 2012.