On September 27, 2023

School Construction Aid Task Force is activated

 

Vermont’s moratorium on state aid for school construction is only in New England

The School Construction Aid task force had its first working meeting last Friday, Sept. 22. 

The task force is made up of a range of subject matter experts and key stakeholders and was formed to consider re-establishing a direct state aid program for local school construction. In 2008, in response to the global financial crisis, Vermont implemented a moratorium on direct state aid for local school construction and is currently the only New England state that still has its moratorium in place.     

The Task Force will evaluate the needs, funding options, governance structures, and criteria for prioritizing funding for school construction throughout the state. The Task Force will also examine the appropriate state action level of response to PCB contamination. Treasurer Pieciak serves as co-chair of the Task Force, along with Interim Secretary of Education Heather Bouchey. 

“Vermont has one of the best public education systems in the country, but our students cannot learn properly if their schools lack the proper facilities,” said Treasurer Pieciak. “This Task Force is critical given reports of inadequate and unsafe school infrastructure throughout our state. I look forward to collaborating with Task Force members to develop a framework for supporting schools, investing in Vermont’s future, and providing necessary resources for every student’s success.” 

“The Agency of Education recognizes that a student’s learning environment plays a pivotal role in determining their academic success,” emphasized Interim Secretary Heather Bouchey. “Partnering with the Treasurer to lead this group is an opportunity to contribute to the critical goal of guaranteeing that every child in our state can attend schools that are not only safe but also equipped with modern facilities that inspire learning. My hope is that we are able to establish the necessary groundwork for a future where all students have the resources they need to thrive, learn, and achieve their full potential.” 

Task Force members include:  State Treasurer Mike Pieciak, Co-Chair; Interim Secretary of Education Heather Bouchey, Co-Chair; Representative Peter Conlon (Addison-2), House Committee on Education, Chair; Representative Chris Taylor (Chittenden-Franklin), House Committee on Education; Senator David Weeks, Senate Committee on Education; Senator Martine Gulick, Senate Committee on Education, Vice Chair; Vermont-NEA Executive Director Jeff Fannon; VPA President-elect Chris Young; Vermont School Boards Association Executive Director Sue Ceglowski; Vermont Superintendents Association Executive Director Jeff Francis; Vermont Bond Bank Executive Director Michael Guaghan; Vermont School Custodians and Maintenance Association President Bruce MacIntire; Energy Efficient Investments Inc. Project Developer Eric Lafayette; UVMMC Industrial Hygienist, Jon Wilkinson; David Epstein, TruexCullins.

The Task Force will issue a report with their recommendations to the Legislature on or before Jan. 15, 2024.

 

 

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