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Substitute Senate Bill No. 633

PUBLIC ACT NO. 96-270

AN ACT CONCERNING SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (a) of section 10-220 of the general statutes, as amended by section 2 of public act 95-101, section 6 of public act 95-182 and section 21 of public act 95-259, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) Each local or regional board of education shall maintain good public elementary and secondary schools, implement the educational interests of the state as defined in section 10-4a and provide such other educational activities as in its judgment will best serve the interests of the school district; provided any board of education may secure such opportunities in another school district in accordance with provisions of the general statutes and shall give all the children of the school district as nearly equal advantages as may be practicable; shall have charge of the schools of its respective school district; shall make a continuing study of the need for school facilities and of a long-term school building program and from time to time make recommendations based on such study to the town; SHALL ADVISE THE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ANY INDIVIDUAL SCHOOL BUILDING PROJECT PURSUANT TO CHAPTER 173 AND SUCH LONG-TERM SCHOOL BUILDING PROGRAM shall have the care, maintenance and operation of buildings, lands, apparatus and other property used for school purposes and at all times shall insure all such buildings and all capital equipment contained therein against loss in an amount not less than eighty per cent of replacement cost; shall determine the number, age and qualifications of the pupils to be admitted into each school; shall employ and dismiss the teachers of the schools of such district subject to the provisions of sections 10-151 and 10-158a; shall designate the schools which shall be attended by the various children within the school district; shall make such provisions as will enable each child of school age, residing in the district to attend some public day school for the period required by law and provide for the transportation of children wherever transportation is reasonable and desirable, and for such purpose may make contracts covering periods of not more than five years; may arrange with the board of education of an adjacent town for the instruction therein of such children as can attend school in such adjacent town more conveniently; shall cause each child seven years of age and over and under sixteen living in the school district to attend school in accordance with the provisions of section 10-184, and shall perform all acts required of it by the town or necessary to carry into effect the powers and duties imposed by law.

Sec. 2. Section 10-282 of the general statutes, as amended by sections 12 and 21 of public act 95-257, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

As used in this chapter, section 10-65 AS AMENDED and section 10-76e AS AMENDED:

[(a)](1) "Elementary school building" means any public school building designed to house any combination of grades below grade seven or children requiring special education who are described in subdivision (2) of subsection (b) of section 10-76d AS AMENDED;

[(b)] (2) "Secondary school building" means any public school building designed to house any combination of grades seven through twelve or any regional vocational agriculture center established under the provisions of part IV of chapter 164, and may also include any separate combination of grades five and six or grade six with grades seven and eight in a program approved by the State Board of Education when the use of special facilities generally associated with secondary schools is an essential part of the program for all grades included in such school;

[(c)] (3) "School building project", except as used in section 10-289, means [(1)] (A) the construction, purchase, extension, replacement RENOVATION or major alteration of a building to be used for public school purposes, including the equipping and furnishing of any such construction, purchase, extension, replacement RENOVATION or major alteration, the improvement of land therefor, or the improvement of the site of an existing building for public school purposes, but shall not include the cost of a site; [(2)] (B) the construction and equipping and furnishing of any such construction of any building which the towns of Norwich, Winchester and Woodstock may provide by lease or otherwise for use by the Norwich Free Academy, Gilbert School and Woodstock Academy, respectively, in furnishing education for public school pupils under the provisions of section 10-34; [(3)] (C) the addition to, renovation of and equipping and furnishing of any such addition to or renovation of any building which may be leased, upon the approval of the State Board of Education, to any local or regional board of education for a term of twenty years or more for use by such local or regional board in furnishing education of public school pupils; and [(4)](D) the lease of a facility by a regional educational service center for use in furnishing educational programs and services;

[(d)] (4) "Extension" of an existing school building means the addition to an existing building or remaining portion of an existing building damaged by fire, flood or other natural catastrophe, or the erection of a new structure or group of structures on the same site which, together with the existing building, is designed to house pupils in an educational program under the supervision of one school principal;

[(e)] (5) "Replacement" of a school building means the erection of a new structure on the same or another site to replace a school building totally destroyed by fire, flood or other natural catastrophe or one to be abandoned for school use upon completion of its replacement;

[(f)] (6) "Major alteration" means a capital improvement of an existing building, the total project costs of which exceed ten thousand dollars except for projects approved pursuant to subsection (a) of section 10-65, AS AMENDED for public school purposes resulting in improved educational conditions;

[(g)] (7) "Code violation" means the correction of any condition in an existing building for public school purposes, the total project costs of which exceed ten thousand dollars, and which condition is in violation of the requirements of the State Building, Fire Safety or Public Health Codes, state or federal Occupational, Safety and Health Administration Codes, federal or state accessibility requirements or regulations of the federal Environmental Protection Agency or the state Department of Environmental Protection, state Department of Public Health regulations for radon or federal standards for lead contamination in school drinking water;

[(h)] (8) "Completed school building project" means a school building project declared complete by the applicant board of education as of the date shown on the final application for grant payment purposes as submitted by said board to the Commissioner of Education or his agent;

[(i)] (9) "Date of beginning of construction" means the date on which the general construction contract or the first phase thereof, purchase agreement or leasing agreement is signed by the authorized agent of the town or regional school district;

[(j)] (10) "Standards" means architectural, engineering and education space specifications and standards for facility eligibility;

[(k)] (11) "Application" or "grant application" means formal notification of intention to apply for a state grant-in-aid for a particular school building project;

[(l)] (12) "Net eligible costs" means eligible project costs adjusted for the state standard education space specifications;

[(m)] (13) "Regional educational service center" means a body corporate and politic established pursuant to the provisions of part IVa of chapter 164;

[(n)] (14) "Regional educational service center administrative or service facility" means a building designed for administrative offices or residential facilities, operated by a regional educational service center;

[(o)] (15) "Vocational agriculture" includes vocational aquaculture and marine-related employment;

[(p)] (16) "Bonds or municipal bonds", except as used in section 10-289, means (1) any bond, note, certificate or other evidence of indebtedness, and (2) any energy conservation lease purchase agreement;

[(q)] (17) "Energy conservation lease purchase agreement" means any lease purchase agreement, instalment sale agreement or other similar agreement providing for periodic payments by a town or regional school district which (1) has as its purpose the financing of a school building project concerning energy conservation, (2) separately states the principal and interest components of the periodic payments to be made under the agreement, and (3) provides that the town or regional school district acquire title to the school building project upon payment of the total amount outstanding under the agreement (18) "RENOVATION" MEANS A SCHOOL BUILDING PROJECT TO TOTALLY REFURBISH AN EXISTING BUILDING AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO NEW CONSTRUCTION AND WHICH RESULTS IN THE RENOVATED FACILITY TAKING ON A USEFUL LIFE COMPARABLE TO THAT OF A NEW FACILITY.

Sec. 3. Section 10-283 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) Each town or regional school district shall be eligible to apply for and accept grants as provided in this chapter. Any town desiring a grant for a public school building project may, by vote of its legislative body, authorize the board of education of such town to apply to the Commissioner of Education and to accept or reject such grant for the town. Any regional school board may vote to authorize the supervising agent of the regional school district to apply to the Commissioner of Education for and to accept or reject such grant for the district. Applications for such grants under this chapter shall be made by the superintendent of schools of such town or regional school district on the form provided and in the manner prescribed by the Commissioner of Education. Grant applications for school building projects shall be reviewed by the Commissioner of Education on the basis of categories for building projects and standards for school construction established by the State Board of Education in accordance with this section, provided grant applications submitted for purposes of subsection (a) of section 10-65 AS AMENDED or section 10-76e AS AMENDED shall be reviewed annually by the commissioner on the basis of the educational needs of the applicant. Each project shall be assigned to a category on the basis of whether such project is primarily required to: (1) Create new facilities or alter existing facilities to provide for mandatory instructional programs pursuant to this chapter, for physical education facilities in compliance with Title IX of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1972 where such programs or such compliance cannot be provided within existing facilities or for the correction of code violations which cannot be reasonably addressed within existing program space; (2) create new facilities or alter existing facilities to enhance mandatory instructional programs pursuant to this chapter or provide comparable facilities among schools to all students at the same grade level or levels within the school district unless such project is otherwise explicitly included in another category pursuant to this section; and (3) create new facilities or alter existing facilities to provide supportive services, provided in no event shall such supportive services include swimming pools, auditoriums, outdoor athletic facilities, tennis courts, elementary school playgrounds, site improvement or garages or storage, parking or general recreation areas. All applications submitted prior to the first day of July in any year shall be reviewed promptly by the commissioner and the amount of the grant for which such project is eligible shall be estimated. The commissioner shall annually prepare a listing of all such eligible projects listed by category together with the amount of the estimated grants therefor including an estimate of the grant for payment of interest cost and shall submit the same to the Governor and the General Assembly on or before the fifteenth day of December, except as provided in section 10-283a, with a request for authorization to enter into grant commitments. EACH SUCH LISTING SUBMITTED AFTER DECEMBER, 1995 SHALL INCLUDE A SEPARATE SCHEDULE OF AUTHORIZED PROJECTS WHICH HAVE CHANGED IN SCOPE OR COST TO A DEGREE DETERMINED BY THE COMMISSIONER. THE PERCENTAGE DETERMINED PURSUANT TO SECTION 10-285a, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 4 OF THIS ACT, AT THE TIME A PROJECT ON SUCH SCHEDULE WAS ORIGINALLY AUTHORIZED SHALL BE USED FOR PURPOSES OF THE GRANT FOR SUCH PROJECT. The General Assembly shall annually authorize the commissioner to enter into grant commitments on behalf of the state in accordance with the commissioner's categorized listing for such projects as the General Assembly shall determine. The commissioner may not enter into any such grant commitments except pursuant to such legislative authorization. The State Board of Education shall issue regulations to carry out the duties of the board and the commissioner under this section. Any regional school district which assumes the responsibility for completion of a public school building project shall be eligible for a grant pursuant to subdivision (5) or (6), as the case may be, of subsection (a) of section 10-286, when such project is completed and accepted by such regional school district. For the purpose of any final grant calculation completed during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1984, and for each fiscal year thereafter, in computing the amount of a state grant for a school building project involving the construction of a new school facility or the purchase or lease of a facility for which a grant application is submitted within five years after any abandonment, sale, lease, demolition or redirection of use of any school facility constructed or renovated with state assistance, the Commissioner of Education shall deduct from the net eligible cost of such school building project any grant amounts paid or due on the abandoned, sold, leased, demolished or redirected facility from the date such facility was abandoned, sold, leased, demolished or redirected. No such deduction shall be made for any grant which was paid or is being paid pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, subsection (a) of section 10-65 AS AMENDED or section 10-76e AS AMENDED.

(b) Notwithstanding the application date requirements of this section, the Commissioner of Education may approve applications for grants pursuant to subdivision (9) of subsection (a) of section 10-286 and for grants to assist school building projects to remedy damage from fire and catastrophe or to correct safety, health and other code violations at any time within the limit of available grant authorization and make payments thereon within the limit of appropriated funds.

Sec. 4. Section 10-285a of the general statutes is amended by adding subsection (d) as follows:

(NEW) (d) The percentage of school building project grant money a cooperative arrangement pursuant to section 10-158a, as amended by section 9 of this act, may be eligible to receive shall be determined by its ranking. Such ranking shall be determined by (1) multiplying the total population, as defined in section 10-261, of each town in the cooperative arrangement by such town's ranking, as determined in subsection (a) of this section, (2) adding the products determined under subdivision (1) of this subsection, and (3) dividing the total computed under subdivision (2) of this subsection by the total population of all towns in the cooperative arrangement. The ranking of each cooperative arrangement shall be rounded to the next higher whole number and each such cooperative arrangement shall receive the same reimbursement percentage as would a town with the same rank plus ten percentage points.

Sec. 5. Subsection (b) of section 10-285b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(b) In the case of a school building project, as defined in [subdivision (1) of subsection (c)] SUBPARAGRAPH (A) OF SUBDIVISION (3) of section 10-282, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 2 OF THIS ACT the amount of the grant approved by said commissioner shall be computed pursuant to the provisions of subdivision (3) of subsection (a) of section 10-286, and in the case of an administrative or service facility the amount of the grant approved by said commissioner shall be computed as one-half of the eligible percentage, as determined for school building projects computed pursuant to the provisions of said subdivision (3) of subsection (a) of section 10-286, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 4 OF THIS ACT of the eligible project cost, provided that the percentage of eligible costs shall be determined pursuant to subsection (c) of this section. The calculation of the grant pursuant to this section shall be made in accordance with the state standard space specifications in effect at the time of final grant calculation. In the case of projects to correct code violations, as defined in [subsection (g)] SUBDIVISION (7) of section 10-282, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 2 OF THIS ACT the amount of the grant approved by said commissioner shall be computed in the manner specified for a secondary regional school district pursuant to subdivision (8) of subsection (a) of section 10-286 provided that the percentage of eligible costs shall be determined pursuant to subsection (c) of this section. For purposes of calculating grants pursuant to this subsection "eligible project costs" shall include interest on obligations issued by any incorporated or endowed high school or academy, approved by the State Board of Education pursuant to section 10-34, for school building projects authorized pursuant to this section. Grant payments shall be made in accordance with this chapter, as deemed applicable by the state Department of Education. Sec. 6. Subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of section 10-286 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof: (2) In case of projects involving improvements to the site of an existing building, or projects involving the purchase of an existing building to be used for school purposes, the eligible percentage, as determined in subsection (a) of section 10-285a, of the eligible cost as determined by the Commissioner of Education [;] PROVIDED ANY PROJECT FOR WHICH AN APPLICATION IS MADE ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 1995, INVOLVING THE PURCHASE AND RENOVATION OF AN EXISTING FACILITY, MAY BE EXEMPT FROM THE STANDARD SPACE SPECIFICATIONS, AND OTHERWISE INELIGIBLE REPAIRS AND REPLACEMENTS MAY BE CONSIDERED ELIGIBLE FOR REIMBURSEMENT AS PART OF SUCH A PROJECT, IF INFORMATION IS PROVIDED ACCEPTABLE TO THE COMMISSIONER DOCUMENTING THE NEED FOR SUCH WORK AND THE COST SAVINGS TO THE STATE AND THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF SUCH PURCHASE AND RENOVATION PROJECT IN COMPARISON TO ALTERNATIVE CONSTRUCTION OPTIONS.

Sec. 7. Subsection (a) of section 10-286 of the general statutes is amended by adding subdivision (10) as follows:

(NEW) (10) In the case of a renovation project for which an application is made on or after July 1, 1995, the eligible percentage as determined in subsection (b) of section 10-285a, multiplied by the eligible costs as determined by the commissioner, provided the project may be exempt from the standard space specifications, and otherwise ineligible repairs and replacements may be considered eligible for reimbursement as part of such a project, if information is provided acceptable to the commissioner documenting the need for such work and the cost savings to the state and the school district of such renovation project in comparison to alternative construction options.

Sec. 8. Section 10-289d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

For purposes of this section and sections 10-289e to 10-289g, inclusive:

(1) "Qualifying municipality" means a city, town or consolidated city and town which does not maintain a public high school and whose board of education has designated a private academy as the high school for such municipality for a period of not less than five years. (2) "Private academy" means an incorporated or endowed high school or academy which is approved by the State Board of Education for public high school purposes pursuant to section 10-34 and which has been or is eligible to apply for a school construction grant commitment from the state pursuant to this chapter. (3) "School building project" means a school building project as defined in [subsection (c)] SUBDIVISION (3) of section 10-282 AS AMENDED BY SECTION 2 OF THIS ACT. (4) "Bonds or notes" means any bonds or notes or any temporary notes issued in anticipation of the receipt of the proceeds of such bonds or notes.

Sec. 9. Section 10-158a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) Any two or more boards of education may, in writing, agree to establish cooperative arrangements to provide special services, programs or activities to enable such boards to carry out the duties specified in the general statutes. Such arrangements may include the establishment of a committee to supervise such programs, the membership of the committee to be determined by the agreement of the cooperating boards. Such committee shall have the power, in accordance with the terms of the agreement, to (1) apply for, receive directly and expend on behalf of the school districts which have designated the committee an agent for such purpose any state or federal grants which may be allocated to school districts for specified programs, the supervision of which has been delegated to such committee, provided such grants are payable before implementation of any such program; (2) receive and disburse funds appropriated to the use of such committee by the cooperating school districts, the state or the United States, or given to the committee by individuals or private corporations; (3) hold title to real or personal property in trust for the appointing boards; (4) employ personnel; (5) enter into contracts, and (6) otherwise provide the specified programs, services and activities. Teachers employed by any such committee shall be subject to the provisions of the general statutes applicable to teachers employed by the board of education of any town or regional school district. For purposes of this section, the term "teacher" shall include each professional employee of a committee below the rank of superintendent who holds a regular certificate issued by the State Board of Education and who is in a position requiring such certification.

(b) Any board of education may withdraw from any agreement entered into under subsection (a) if, at least one year prior to the date of the proposed withdrawal, it gives written notice of its intent to do so to each of the other boards. Upon withdrawal by one or more boards of education, two or more boards of education may continue their commitment to the agreement. If two or more boards of education continue the arrangement, then such committee established within the arrangement may continue to hold title to any real or personal property given to or purchased by the committee in trust for all the boards of education which entered the agreement, unless otherwise provided in the agreement or by law or by the grantor or donor of such property. Upon dissolution of the committee, any property held in trust shall be distributed in accordance with the agreement, if such distribution is not contrary to law.

(c) IF A COOPERATIVE ARRANGEMENT RECEIVES A GRANT FOR A SCHOOL BUILDING PROJECT PURSUANT TO CHAPTER 173, THE COOPERATIVE ARRANGEMENT SHALL USE THE BUILDING FOR WHICH THE GRANT WAS PROVIDED FOR A PERIOD OF NOT LESS THAN TWENTY YEARS AFTER COMPLETION OF SUCH PROJECT. IF THE COOPERATIVE ARRANGEMENT CEASES TO USE THE BUILDING FOR THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE GRANT WAS PROVIDED, THE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION SHALL DETERMINE WHETHER (1) TITLE TO THE BUILDING AND ANY LEGAL INTEREST IN APPURTENANT LAND REVERTS TO THE STATE OR (2) THE COOPERATIVE ARRANGEMENT REIMBURSES THE STATE AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO TEN PER CENT OF THE ELIGIBLE SCHOOL BUILDING PROJECT COSTS OF THE PROJECT.

Sec. 10. (NEW) Notwithstanding the provisions of chapter 173 of the general statutes, in the case of a school building project to expand an existing school building, the State Board of Education shall not require code compliance improvements to the existing part of the building not affected by the project as a condition of reimbursement for the project under said chapter.

Sec. 11. This act shall take effect July 1, 1996.

Approved June 10, 1996. Effective July 1, 1996.

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