Program to Repair, Build Schools Examined by Senate Education Committee

HARRISBURG – A program to repair outdated and deteriorating schools and build new schools was the focus of a public hearing of the Senate Education Committee chaired by Sen. Dave Argall (R-29) today.

“Too many of our students are forced to get their education in outmoded conditions,” said Argall. “We need to take a hard look at how to upgrade our existing schools that can still be used and build new schools where the current buildings don’t cut it anymore.”

Testimony discussed the Planning and Construction Workbook (PlanCon) program, which outlines the process for school districts to receive funding from the Department of Education for major construction projects. New submissions to the program have been paused since 2016.

Argall asked Jessica Sites of the Department of Education to provide data detailing the dollar amount it would take to fix every school in the state, noting that “everyone seems to agree that we have a serious problem here, but as of yet no one has been able to tell me how big the problem is.”

Argall also discussed new legislation to compel school districts to report to the state how much funding they would need to repair their schools.

The second panel featured testimony by Jeff Mummert, Business Administrator at South Western School District, and Dr. Daniel McGarry, the Superintendent of Upper Darby School District.

The third panel featured companies with experience repairing and modernizing schools. Much of their testimony focused on the poor conditions many students currently experience and how leaps in technology could provide for crucial updates that would improve the day-to-day experience of students.

A full video of the hearing and copies of written testimony can be found on the Senate Education Committee’s website.

CONTACT: Jim Brugger, 717-787-2637

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