Commissioners Finalize ‘Progress Report’ on School Construction Recommendations

It was decision time for the 21st Century Schools Commission at their Friday, January 6 meeting. The meeting, which was rescheduled from December, centered on discussing interim recommendations on school construction.

Chairman Martin Knott led the Commissioners through a document outlining major themes that emerged in 2016 and major themes that warrant continued examination in 2017. The commissioners were asked to provide feedback and work towards a consensus on the themes. The goal of the work session was to flesh out the themes with additional detail to be included in the interim report. Chairman Knott described the interim recommendations they are required to produce as more of a progress report than a blueprint for legislation.

Major Themes That Emerged In 2016

  • Flexibility – One size does not fit all for the local education agencies and they should be differentiated based on experience and capabilities.
  • Time is Money – The construction review process should be streamlined wherever possible and duplication of effort at the state and local levels should be reduced.
  • Incentives – LEAs should be encouraged to take advantage of monetary or procedural incentives and pilot programs allowed under law.
  • Clearinghouse/Technical Assistance -The State/IAC should serve as a clearinghouse for research based best practices and for technical assistance for innovative projects and programs.

Next Steps

Chairman Knott noted the feedback from the day’s work session would be incorporated into the interim report which will be completed and submitted to the general assembly as soon as possible.

The commission plans to meet again after the session to continue work on the major themes for further examination in 2017 — funding, procurement and construction, and the roles and structure of the IAC process.

For more information, watch the video of the hearing, and check the General Assembly website for meeting materials.