DeLuca: Plum, Penn Hills school districts to receive $1.1 million in construction grants

HARRISBURG, Oct. 24 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, announced that the Penn Hills and Plum school districts will receive a total $1.1 million in state grants to help pay for certain approved construction projects.

DeLuca said the Plum Borough School District will receive $779,165 and the Penn Hills School District will receive $331,418, as part of the state's Commonwealth Financing Authority's PlanCon program.

PlanCon reimburses school districts for specific repairs or construction projects. Funding was previously eliminated in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 budgets, leaving school districts without expected reimbursements for projects that had been in the works for months and years. DeLuca said he is pleased the legislature found another way to fund the program.

"My colleagues in the legislature helped me remedy the funding shortage by authorizing the CFA to issue up to $2.5 billion in bonds over the next few years to ensure the schools receive the money promised to them from the state," DeLuca said. "This is good news for Pennsylvania schools, as they will soon begin receiving some of the state funding they were previously promised. I expect more bonds and more grants to be approved in the near future, as the state continues to support our public schools with all the construction money they have been promised."

The CFA is expected to issue the first round of bonds in the next few weeks, which will then allow the money to be forwarded to the schools.

The bond issue will raise money to pay for previously approved programs, including legacy projects – those that were receiving annual payments until funding was removed from the budget after the 2014/15 fiscal year – and back-logged programs, which were approved but have not yet received any of the money due.

"The Pennsylvania Constitution requires the General Assembly ‘provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education’ and restoring the PlanCon grants is a good step in that direction," DeLuca added.