GOV. HUTCHINSON SEEKS ACTION
ON EFFICIENCY PROJECT PROPOSAL
Facilities Partnership funding is distributed in an inefficient manner. Policy Foundation Efficiency Project, Second Report, Recommendation #49, p. 181
(August 2017) Freshman Gov. Asa Hutchinson has asked a state panel to recommend changes to a K-12 public school spending practice criticized last year by the Policy Foundation's Efficiency Project.
"We've been going down a path in terms of facility funding that needs to be adjusted," Hutchinson told a July 25 meeting of the Advisory Committee on Public School Academic Facilities. "You've got to think about how do people learn today differently, and how should facilities be adjusted to be more efficient in light of how people learn."2
Gov. Hutchinson said the state's practice of spending nearly $100 million annually on school facilities is "unsustainable." The Democrat-Gazette reported the state of Arkansas has contributed $1.1 billion in facilities funding since 2006.
Efficiency Project Recommendation
The Efficiency Project made the recommendation in 2016 after determining that Partnership funding was unsustainable at current spending rates.
Cost Implications for K-12 Projects
The Policy Foundation subsequently determined some construction input costs are cyclical and influenced by macroeconomic conditions.
Brad Montgomery, state Division of Public School Academic Facilities director, said in an interview that K-12 districts use multi-year cycles when planning facilities. Districts submit proposals to the division, which enters them into their system legislative review. Facilities funding, if approved, occurs with a time lag. For example, proposals approved in 2016 were not funded until May 1, 2017.
The division does not partner on non-academic facilities, he said.
Information about the division is posted at: http://arkansasfacilities.arkansas.gov/
1 Arkansas Policy Foundation (September 2016), www.arkansaspolicyfoundation.org
2 "School Building Efforts Costly, Arkansas Governor Says." Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, July 26, 2017