HB354 (2024) Detail

Relative to chartered public school eligibility for state school building aid.


HB 354 - VERSION ADOPTED BY BOTH BODIES

 

3Jan2024... 2415h

2023 SESSION

23-0010

10/08

 

HOUSE BILL 354

 

AN ACT relative to chartered public school eligibility for state school building aid.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Mooney, Hills. 12; Rep. Cordelli, Carr. 7; Rep. Hobson, Rock. 14; Rep. Weyler, Rock. 14; Rep. Griffin, Hills. 42; Rep. Healey, Hills. 12; Sen. Avard, Dist 12; Sen. Ward, Dist 8; Sen. Carson, Dist 14

 

COMMITTEE: Education

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill adds chartered public schools to the procedures for consideration, approval, plan requirements, and determination of grants for school building aid.

 

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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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

3Jan2024... 2415h 23-0010

10/08

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty Three

 

AN ACT relative to chartered public school eligibility for state school building aid.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  School Building Aid; Grants for School Construction; Chartered Public Schools; Requirements Added.  Amend RSA 198:15-a, I through III to read as follows:

I.  To aid local school districts and chartered public schools under RSA 194-B in meeting the costs of school buildings, the department of education shall, from funds appropriated by the general court to carry out the provisions of this subdivision, pay to the school districts and chartered public schools of the state, sums in accordance with the provisions of this subdivision, RSA 198:15-b, I(b) or the alternative school building aid provisions under RSA 198:15-u through RSA 198:15-w.

I-a.  For purposes of this subdivision, "school district" means any school district duly organized, any city maintaining a school department within its corporate organization, any cooperative school district as defined in RSA 195:1, any receiving district operating an area school as defined in RSA 195-A:1, or any receiving district providing an education to pupils from one or more sending districts under a contract entered into pursuant to RSA 194:21-a or RSA 194:22.

II.  Beginning with construction authorized by a local school district or chartered public school on or after July 1, 2013, office facilities for school administrative units and the purchase or lease-purchase of temporary space for any purpose, including, but not limited to modulars, trailers, or other similar structures to be used as classroom, office, or storage space shall not be eligible for school building aid grants.

II-a.  Any chartered public school building to be improved or constructed using school building aid shall be owned by the chartered public school and in the event of a voluntary or involuntary dissolution shall be subject to a plan for the disposition of the chartered public school’s assets, pursuant to RSA 194-B:3, II(z), as approved by the state board of education.

III.  Facilities constructed using school building aid grants shall be used as instructional facilities for kindergarten through grade 12 for at least 20 years.  A school district or chartered public school that discontinues the use of the facilities within 20 years shall be required to repay the state 100 percent of the state grant received.  Upon a showing of good cause by the school district or chartered public school, the commissioner of the department of education may waive this penalty in whole or part on a case by case basis.

2  School Building Aid; Amount of Grant; Chartered Public Schools.  Amend RSA 198:15-b, I(b) to read as follows:

(b)(1)  For construction authorized by a school district after July 1, 2013, the amount of grant to the school district shall be calculated based on the criteria set forth in RSA 198:15-u through RSA 198:15-w.

(2)  The state board of education shall approve the disbursement of 80 percent of the eligible grant amount upon approval of the application for school building aid grants by the state board of education, and shall disburse the balance of the grant amount upon completion of the construction and verification of the final cost of construction by the department of education.

(3)  The amount of the grant to any chartered public school established in accordance with RSA 194-B:3-a shall be 30 percent of the eligible cost of construction.  For chartered public school construction projects, the amount of the annual grant to any chartered public school shall be a sum equal to 5 percent of the eligible grant amount each year for 20 years upon approval of the application for school building aid grants by the state board of education.  Not more than 10 percent of the eligible grant amount shall be disbursed until the completion of the construction and verification of the final cost of construction have been made by the department of education.

(4)  Funds received from federal grants or grants from other state programs shall be subtracted from total project costs when computing grants under this paragraph.

3  School Building Aid; Approvals; Chartered Public Schools.  Amend RSA 198:15-c to read as follows:

198:15-c  Approval of Plans; Specifications, and Costs of Construction or Purchase.

I.(a)  A school district maintaining approved schools, desiring to avail itself of the grants herein provided shall submit schematic design plans, cost estimates, and other items determined by the department of education for an eligible school construction project prior to the start of the construction.  Projects with approval from the school district’s legislative body to construct, not subject to receiving building aid, are not eligible.

(b)  Beginning January 1, 2025 and each year thereafter, to be considered for a school building aid grant, the complete building aid application shall be submitted no later than April 1 of the fiscal year that immediately precedes the fiscal year in which the school desires to seek the district’s legislative body’s or chartered public school board of trustees' approval for construction.  The application shall include at a minimum, schematic design plans, cost estimates, educational needs assessment, existing facility conditions assessment including, but, not limited to a review of the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and structural components of the building, proof of an annual school budget to support good maintenance, and other documentation as required by the department and identified in the department's school building construction rules.

(c)  As deemed appropriate, emergency projects that are recommended by the commissioner of education shall be addressed on a case-by-case basis by the state board of education at any time during the school year.  A school construction project requiring the replacement of all or a significant portion of a school facility which is declared uninhabitable or is identified as an imminent danger or substantial risk by the state fire marshal or a state or federal agency, and which results from an unanticipated and sudden natural or human disaster, shall qualify as an emergency project.

II.(a)  The commissioner shall accept school building aid grant applications based upon completeness and submit a preliminary school building aid grant list, with applications ranked in accordance with subparagraph II(b) and rules of the department, to the school building authority established pursuant to RSA 195-C by August 1 each year.  The school building authority shall verify the ranking submitted by the commissioner and submit a list in descending rank order to the state board of education for approval.  If the ranking submitted to the school building authority differs from the preliminary school building aid grant list, the school building authority shall justify the new ranking using the same criteria in subparagraph II(b) and in rules of the department.  The school building authority shall submit the school building aid rank order listing with written report of findings to the state board no later than October 15, each year.  The state board of education shall verify the ranking submitted by the school building authority.  If the ranking submitted to the state board of education differs from the preliminary school building aid grant list submitted by the commissioner, the state board of education shall justify the new ranking using the same criteria in subparagraph II(b) and rules of the department.  The state board of education shall approve and publish the descending rank order list of approved eligible school construction projects by November 15 each year.  School districts and chartered public schools which have projects approved for funding shall be notified by the department of education of the projected amount to be funded within 10 days of approval.  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 or chartered public school's project point rating, shall be developed by the department of education and approved by the state board of education.?  

(b)  The commissioner of the department of education shall accept school building construction proposals based upon completeness.  The department of education shall consider and score each proposal based on the following criteria:  

(1)  Unsafe conditions.

(2)  Facilities not in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, or obsolete, inefficient, or unsuitable facilities or mechanical and building systems.

(3)  Overcrowding and associated influences to instructional areas and programming.

(4)  Enrollment projections and population shifts.

(5)  A school district's or chartered public school's fiscal capacity based on measurable criteria such as the percentage of pupils eligible for free and reduced price meals.

(6)  School security design and integration of security systems.

(7)  The project contributes to operational cost efficiencies, consolidation, or reduced property taxes.

(8)  High performance of design that provides environments that are energy and resource efficient.  Energy and resource efficient designs are those that improve indoor air quality, air temperature, or water quality; reduce heating costs; provide better lighting; and increase average attendance.

(9)  Any other criteria that the state board of education may determine are necessary.

(c)  Except as provided in subparagraph (d), applications on the approved ranked list the previous fiscal year, including the school construction projects on the descending rank order list approved by the state board of education on November 10, 2022, but did not receive a grant due to insufficient funds in the previous fiscal year, shall be ranked ahead of any application that was not on the list in the previous fiscal year provided that construction of the project has not started.

(d)  Applications with critical needs pursuant to subparagraph II(b) and substantial deficiencies, as defined by the department of education’s school construction rules, may be ranked ahead of applications received in the prior fiscal year.

(e)  Projects that did not receive approval from the school district’s legislative body or chartered public school board of trustees may resubmit those projects to the department for future consideration.

III.  A school district or chartered public school that accepts school building aid for construction shall engage the services of a project manager for construction or reconstruction projects of $1,000,000 or more, unless the commissioner waives such requirement as unnecessary.  The [school district's] project manager shall have his or her own comprehensive liability and auto insurance, worker's compensation coverage, and professional liability coverage.  The state board of education shall adopt rules pursuant to RSA 541-A relative to the required services, responsibilities, and qualifications for the [school district's] project manager.

4  Time of Computation of Grant.  Amend RSA 198:15-d to read as follows:

198:15-d  Time of Computation of Grant.  As of January 1 in each year, the department of education shall cause to be computed the amount of the annual grants for school building aid to be paid to eligible school districts and chartered public schools in the succeeding fiscal year.  The computation shall be based upon the total of eligible costs of construction of school buildings approved by the legislative body of the school district or chartered public school board of trustees and the department of education for which loans are outstanding [in each school district] for the fiscal year in which the computations are made.

5  Chartered Public Schools; Establishment.  Amend RSA 194-B:3, II(z) to read as follows:

(z)  Provisions for dissolution of the chartered public school including disposition of assets or amendment of its program plan.  A chartered public school may not be eligible for a state building aid grant until the state board of education has approved the school’s asset disposition plan.  

6  New Paragraph; Charter Revocation.  Amend RSA 194-B:16 by inserting after paragraph VIII the following new paragraph:

IX.  In the event of a voluntary or involuntary dissolution of a charter public school, remaining student records maintained by the charter public school shall be forwarded to the department of education, if all records maintained by the public charter school have not been forwarded to the student’s district of residence.

7  Repeal.  RSA 194-B:11, VII, relative to the prohibition on chartered public schools receiving school building aid, is repealed.

8  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2024.

 

LBA

23-0010

Amended 1/17/24

 

HB 354- FISCAL NOTE

AS AMENDED BY THE HOUSE (AMENDMENT #2023-2415h)

 

AN ACT relative to chartered public school eligibility for state school building aid.

 

FISCAL IMPACT:      [    ] State              [    ] County               [    ] Local              [ X ] None

 

METHODOLOGY:

This bill amends RSA 198:15 to add chartered public schools to the procedures for consideration, approval, plan requirements, and determination of grants for school building aid; thereby further clarifying that chartered public schools follow the same regulations in the building aid process as local school districts. The proposed bill also specifies that any chartered public school using school building aid shall be owned by the chartered school and subject to a plan for the disposition of the chartered public school’s assets in the event of a voluntary or involuntary dissolution of the school. The state board of education must approve a chartered public school’s asset disposition plan for the school to be eligible for a state building aid grant. The bill stipulates that the annual grant to chartered public school construction projects shall be 5% of the eligible grant amount for 20 years, with no more than 10% of the eligible grant amount permitted to be disbursed until the completion of construction of verification of final cost of construction by NHED.

 

This bill provides no appropriation for school building aid and the Department of Education has identified no administrative costs attributable to this bill’s changes, therefore, it is assumed this bill will have no impact on state expenditures or local school district revenue.

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Department of Education

 

Amendments

Date Amendment
Nov. 17, 2023 2023-2415h

Links


Date Body Type
Feb. 8, 2023 House Hearing
Feb. 15, 2023 House Exec Session
March 15, 2023 House Exec Session
Nov. 13, 2023 House Exec Session
Nov. 13, 2023 House Exec Session
Nov. 13, 2023 House Floor Vote
March 12, 2024 Senate Hearing
May 2, 2024 Senate Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

HB354 Revision: 41799 Date: May 2, 2024, 12:28 p.m.
HB354 Revision: 40580 Date: Jan. 17, 2024, 2:54 p.m.
HB354 Revision: 39475 Date: Nov. 17, 2023, 2:38 p.m.
HB354 Revision: 37235 Date: Jan. 9, 2023, 3:16 p.m.

Docket


June 10, 2024: Enrolled (in recess of) 05/30/2024 HJ 15


June 10, 2024: Enrolled Adopted, VV, (In recess 05/30/2024); SJ 17


May 2, 2024: Ought to Pass: MA, VV; OT3rdg; 05/02/2024; SJ 11


April 24, 2024: Committee Report: Ought to Pass, 05/02/2024, Vote 3-2; SC 17


March 6, 2024: Hearing: 03/12/2024, Room 101, LOB, 09:00 am; SC 10


Feb. 16, 2024: Introduced 02/15/2024 and Referred to Education; SJ 5


Jan. 4, 2024: Ought to Pass with Amendment 2023-2415h: MA RC 190-177 01/04/2024 HJ 1 P. 100


Jan. 4, 2024: Amendment # 2023-2415h: AA VV 01/03/2024 HJ 1 P. 98


Nov. 17, 2023: Committee Report: Without Recommendation 11/13/2023 (Vote 10-10; RC) HC 49 P. 27


Oct. 10, 2023: Executive Session: 11/13/2023 09:30 am LOB 205-207 HC 41


Oct. 10, 2023: Executive Session: 11/13/2023 09:30 am LOB 205-207 HC 41


Oct. 25, 2023: Full Work Session: 10/31/2023 11:00 am LOB 205-207 HC 43


Oct. 10, 2023: Full Committee Work Session: 10/18/2023 11:00 am LOB 205-207 HC 41


Sept. 25, 2023: Full Committee Work Session: 10/05/2023 10:00 am LOB 205-207 HC 39


Sept. 11, 2023: Subcommittee Work Session: 09/14/2023 09:00 am LOB 205-207


Aug. 22, 2023: ==RESCHEDULED== Subcommittee Work Session: 09/14/2023 10:00 am LOB 205-207


Aug. 9, 2023: ==CANCELLED== Subcommittee Work Session: 09/07/2023 10:00 am LOB 205-207


June 1, 2023: Subcommittee Work Session: 06/12/2023 01:00 pm LOB 205-207


May 10, 2023: Full Committee Work Session: 05/30/2023 01:00 pm LOB 205-207


March 15, 2023: Retained in Committee


March 1, 2023: Executive Session: 03/15/2023 09:30 am LOB 205-207


Feb. 8, 2023: Executive Session: 02/15/2023 09:00 am LOB 205-207


Jan. 31, 2023: Public Hearing: 02/08/2023 01:45 pm LOB 205-207


Jan. 9, 2023: Introduced (in recess of) 01/05/2023 and referred to Education HJ 3 P. 12