Surplus provides building aid to local school districts for the first time in nearly a decade

Image courtesy of NHPR

According to the Union Leader, an estimated $19 million of state funds will be available for school building aid projects:

School districts throughout the state will soon have a chance to apply for part of a fund estimated at $19 million for school construction projects, with an emphasis on safety, security, and internet connectivity.

Thanks to a robust budget surplus for the 2017 fiscal year that ended on June 30, the state will be offering a form of building aid to local school districts for the first time in nearly a decade.

In 2009, in the depths of the Great Recession, the Legislature approved a moratorium on state funding for new school projects, leaving local districts to their own devices.

While the moratorium remains in place, Gov. Chris Sununu in his first budget address proposed directing some of the anticipated state surplus to certain school improvement efforts.

His budget initially estimated the amount for the Public School Infrastructure Revitalization Trust Fund at $8.5 million. The Legislature then passed the budget trailer bill, HB 517, with a provision that any budget surplus at the end of the fiscal year go into the school infrastructure fund, once the Rainy Day Fund reaches $100 million.

The preliminary numbers are in for FY 2017, and according to the Department of Administrative Services, the state ended the fiscal year with a $25 million surplus, of which $6 million was needed to bring the Rainy Day Fund up to the required $100 million.

That leaves an estimated $19 million for the schools, more than twice as much as Sununu anticipated. The formal audit, which won’t be completed until December, could cause that number to move by a few million in either direction, but planning is underway based on $19 million.

Source: NH’s school districts can tap fund for safety, internet projects | Union Leader