McNamara bill would extend deadline for beginning of school construction projects to utilize aid bonuses


STATE HOUSE — While cities and towns across the state are still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) has introduced legislation that would extend the deadline to begin new school construction projects that would utilize school housing aid bonuses.

In 1960, the school housing aid program was enacted by the General Assembly to guarantee adequate school facilities for all public school children in the state, and to prevent the cost of constructing and repairing facilities from interfering with the effective operation of the schools.

From time to time, certain temporary housing aid bonuses were made available to districts for specific types of construction. Currently there are bonuses available for construction projects that address health and safety deficiencies and educational enhancement, provided those projects begin by Dec. 30 of this year. The legislation (2022-H 7019) would change that deadline to Dec. 30, 2023.

“A lot of school construction time was lost while addressing COVID-19,” said Representative McNamara, who chairs the House Education Committee. “That, coupled with interruptions in the supply chain, created some challenging situations for school districts that wanted to begin construction projects. This bill would afford those districts another year to take advantage of temporary school housing aid bonuses.”

The legislation was requested by several city and town officials. Councils in Cumberland, East Greenwich, Foster, Middletown, Newport, Smithfield and Warwick all passed resolutions asking for the extension.

The legislation, which is cosponsored by Representatives Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, Narragansett, South Kingstown), Brian C. Newberry (R-Dist. 48, North Smithfield, Burrillville), Joseph J. Solomon Jr. (D-Dist. 22, Warwick), Brandon C. Potter (D-Dist. 16, Cranston), Julie Casimiro (D-Dist. 31, North Kingstown, Exeter) and Mia Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln), has been referred to the House Education Committee.                                                        


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