First Posted: 10/1/2014
Dallas also was the only Luzerne County school district to get a piece of $21.6 million released by the state for construction reimbursement. Gov. Tom Corbett had placed a moratorium on such reimbursements when he took office in 2011. The Dallas High School opened that fall, at a cost of about $40 million.
Superintendent Frank Galicki said the money for the foundation came from Frontier Communications, which donated $10,000, and FNB Bank, which gave $1,500. Both businesses took advantage of the foundation’s status as an Education Improvement Tax Credit entity, meaning they will get a break in state taxes for their donations.
The foundation is a separate nonprofit run by a board of directors, and that board decides how to spend the money. Galicki said teachers and administrators submit requests. “They call them wish-lists,” he said, “and the board decides which wishes to grant.”
In the past, the money has helped buy computer equipment for students and computerized interactive “smart boards” that have become ubiquitous in many schools, among other things.
Galicki said the foundation raised $120,000 last year and that this year it will begin selling banner ads for the new stadium under a new policy adopted by the School Board.
The construction reimbursement money comes through the state’s “Planning and Construction Workbook” system, or “PlanCon,” used in determining state reimbursements for school construction.
The Corbett administration says the program was over-committed by $30 million when the governor took office in 2011, prompting a moratorium on payments. A media release announcing that $21.6 million was being approved for 41 schools said that, “Through tight fiscal control, the department eliminated the deficit in March 2014 and approved six projects for reimbursement during the 2013-14 school year.”
The release also noted this year’s state budget allocates $306.2 million for PlanCon, a $10 million increase.