PlanCON return good news for Ringgold
The Ringgold School Board was prepared to build a new middle school with or without state help.
But the revival of the state PlanCON program could mean $18 million in state reimbursement for the project.
PlanCon, short for Planning and Construction Workbook, is a set of forms and procedures used to apply for state reimbursement.
PlanCon forms are designed to document a school district's planning process, provide justification for a project to the public, ascertain compliance with state laws and regulations, and establish the level of state participation in the project cost.
The school board last week authorized architect HHSDR to submit documents applying for funding under PlanCON.
With the start of the state fiscal year on July 1, the Legislature lifted a moratorium on PlanCON.
The moratorium was imposed in October 2012.
Applying is the first of 11 steps in PlanCON. Reimbursement does not come until a project reaches Part H. But once a project enters at Part A, it is eligible for reimbursement.
The Donora and Monongahela elementary centers closed at the end of the 2010-11 school year. At one time, Ringgold considered a plan to reopen the buildings and renovate them for use as middle schools.
The board ultimately decided to pursue construction of a middle school at the Carroll Township site that houses the high school. That building would replace Ringgold Middle School – formerly Finley Middle School – which is shifting slightly because of pyrite beneath the surface.
The district expects the new middle school to be ready for the start of the 2017-18 school year.
The General Assembly set $306 million aside for PlanCON in the current state budget, state Department of Education spokesman Tim Eller said.
“All things being equal, I'm not sure if they would see reimbursement by the time the 2017-18 school year begins,” Eller said of Ringgold. “Once they start in the process, they will be retroactively reimbursed.”
Reimbursement would come over 20 years, as the district makes its bond issue payments for the school.
“When people shout, ‘You have to come up with all of the money up front,' that's not really the case,” said board Vice President Bill Stein, adding the state would match PlanCON money with the district's bond payments.
Reimbursements are based on a district's aid ratio, which is based on the market value of all real estate in district, divided by the personal income of all district residents, Eller said. The poorer the district, the higher its aid ratio.
Although the ratio can change annually, Ringgold's aid ratio is 0.6090 – meaning the district is in line to receive reimbursement of nearly 61 cents for each dollar of construction costs.
Stein said building costs will depend upon design, such as will it have an auditorium or just a multi-purpose room; marble floors or tile?
“This school is going to require a lot public input,” Stein said. “There will be public hearings. “Our intent is not to build a Taj Mahal school. Our intent is to build a functional school. We're just looking for an efficient school. We want it to have modern technology, but not go overboard.
“Our aim is to keep it in the $30 million range.”
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police investigating shooting outside of Monessen bar
- Coal Center’s High Point restaurant for sale as owners ease into retirement
- Valley residents enjoyed holiday happenings over weekend
- Monongahela grad inducted into state Sports Hall of Fame
- Monessen amphitheater proves to be crowd pleaser
- Mon Valley communities put spotlight on Christmas season
- Rostraver woman killed in apparent murder-suicide had reported abuse, court records show
- New Manos Theatre opened in glorious fashion in Monessen
- Colonial leaders extended legacy to Mon Valley towns
- Monessen faces $350K shortfall
- DEP cites Monessen coke plant 6 times