Westerly School Committee will ask the state to extend school construction bonuses that expire next year | Where is

WEST — The school board will consider asking the state General Assembly to extend two of six temporary bonuses available for school construction and renovation projects that meet goals set out in state law.

A proposed resolution to be considered by the school committee at its Jan. 5 meeting asks lawmakers to expand the bonus available for aspects of projects that fix hazardous materials as well as a bonus for projects that improve education. Both bonuses are due to expire at the end of 2022, while the other four bonuses are due to expire at the end of 2023.

The two bonuses identified in the proposed resolution and the four others are tied to the statewide school building bond approved by state voters in 2018. The bond activated six new bonuses temporary loans and access to $250 million in seed funding for construction and renovation projects. . Each bonus provides an additional 5% in state reimbursements to local school districts in addition to the 35% minimum for projects approved by the state Department of Education.

Other temporary bonuses include one for replacing facilities with a facility condition index of 65% or higher. The index was compiled as part of a report on a statewide school building assessment released in 2017. Temporary bonuses are also available for increased use of school facilities; projects that reduce overcrowding; and projects that result in newer and fewer school buildings.

The proposed extension would provide an “additional year of planning and construction lost in the face of COVID-19, as well as the global supply chain challenge,” according to the resolution the school committee is expected to vote on.

School building subcommittee chair Justin Hopkins and the rest of the subcommittee asked the school committee to consider asking the General Assembly for an extension.

The school committee, with the approval of the city council, submitted a Phase I application to RIDE in September. The application announces the city’s intention to participate in the process of building and renovating schools in the department. The building subcommittee has selected two renovation proposals as meriting further consideration and is working with an architect and design firm who should eventually develop recommendations on potential projects.

The subcommittee considered submitting a Stage II application in February, but shifted its collective gaze to a submission in September to allow more time to develop proposals with additional feedback from residents.

A $71 million plan that included construction of a new school building eligible for up to 50% state rebate was rejected by voters in 2019. Voters also rejected a 38 .5 million in 2016.