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State Senator

John Fonfara

Representing Hartford & Wethersfield

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Sen. Fonfara Welcomes State Investment in Hartford’s Public Schools

State Senator John Fonfara (D-Hartford) today welcomed nearly unanimous Senate passage of a bill that will provide a 95 percent state reimbursement rate for a variety of Hartford public school renovation projects, now and in the future.

“The passage of this bill is a tremendous opportunity for the City of Hartford to rebuild a number of schools that haven’t received adequate resources for many years, and in some cases several decades,” said Sen. Fonfara, who is himself a graduate of Bulkeley High School. “The passage of this bill is especially important considering it is coming at a time when Hartford’s finances would otherwise preclude any type of investment of this magnitude.”

Senate Bill 1210, the 2019 school building project bonding bill, authorizes eight school construction grants totaling $160.5 million toward total project costs of $229 million. The bill also exempts certain school construction projects from various statutory and regulatory requirements to allow them to qualify for state reimbursement grants or a higher level of reimbursement, and it makes changes in school construction laws concerning school building committee membership, reimbursement rates for diversity schools, and school construction project contracting rules.

Specifically of interest to Hartford, the bill increase the state reimbursement rate for current and future renovations to various Hartford schools, with the state paying 95% of the cost and local taxpayers paying just 5%.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School, magnet school renovation
  • Increases the project reimbursement rate from 80% to 95% to implement the District Model for Excellence approved by the Hartford Board of Education on January 23, 2018; allows reimbursement for certain costs that are otherwise ineligible for reimbursement, provided the ineligible costs do not exceed $2 million and the project meets all other requirements of school construction projects.
  • Burns Latino Studies Academy, renovation
  • Converts the existing project from “code violation” to “renovation”; Waives the requirement to submit an application for the $47.7 million project before June 30, 2018 in order to be considered for the 2019 priority list, as long as Hartford files an application before October 1, 2019 and meets all other requirements of school construction projects; Increases the project reimbursement rate from 80% to 95%.
  • Bulkeley High School, renovation
  • Waives the requirement to submit an application for the $149 million project before June 30, 2018, in order to be considered for the 2019 priority list, as long as Hartford files an application before October 1, 2019 and meets all other requirements of school construction projects; increases the project reimbursement rate from 80% to 95%.
  • Hartford Various (unspecified)
  • Authorizes a reimbursement rate of 95 percent for any school building project related to implementing the District Model for Excellence, as long as Hartford files an application for such projects before June 30, 2022, and meets all other requirements of school construction projects.

The bill also passed the House of Representatives and now heads to Governor Ned Lamont for his signature into law.

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