Matzie and Nesbit introduce legislation to stem rising education costs

AMBRIDGE, Sept. 29 – State Reps. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, and Tedd Nesbit, R-Mercer/Butler, introduced legislation today in an effort to control the ever rising cost of education in Pennsylvania. 

House Bill 2388 would require any school entity in the state to use a Department of Education-approved, prototypical design in the construction of new school facilities. The legislation would direct the department to establish a prototypical school design clearinghouse, which could be accessed and used by any school entity in Pennsylvania.

“This legislation is designed to save taxpayers money by simplifying the process for school districts to design and construct new facilities,” Nesbit said. “For school districts, one of the largest capital expenses they face is the design and construction of new facilities. Allowing districts to choose from a variety of architectural designs from a statewide database not only saves on costs, but gives school officials many more options to consider.”

The legislation would also require the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct a study, after the clearinghouse has been in use for five years, to determine the savings incurred by school entities that used the system.

A second bill, H.B. 2389, would require publishers of post-secondary textbooks to offer an identical digital equivalent for any college textbook sold within the state. Publishers would have two years from the date of publication to make the digital version available.

“As the cost of a college education continues to rise across the country, I think it is important to look at ways to make obtaining a higher education in Pennsylvania more affordable for students,” Matzie said. “Digital books have quickly become more and more common in everyday life, and students should have the option to purchase their textbooks in this format. Textbook publishers may also realize savings, as the cost of publishing and selling an electronic textbook is considerably less than a conventional book.”