STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Representative Michelle Udall (R-25) has introduced HB 2679, legislation that would make significant changes to improve how the state funds school capital. The bill would eliminate the School Facilities Board (SFB) and assign its duties to the Arizona Department of Administration (ADOA) and a School Facilities Oversight Board. Additionally, the bill specifies that building renewal would be funded both through a formula distributed to schools on a per student basis as well as a state grant program for larger expenses.
“After years of unsuccessful efforts to fix the problems within the Schools Facilities Board, and given its most recent audit, it’s clear that big changes are necessary,” said Representative Udall. “It is time to eliminate the board and entrust the responsibility of building new schools and approving repairs to an agency that has a track record of efficient grant management and building oversight.”
The School Facilities Board was created to help ensure schools were built and repaired in a timely, efficient manner so that all Arizona students could attend schools that met a minimum set of standards.
However, a recent special audit showed over 700 projects were still open after more than a year. The audit findings coincided with stories teachers and administrators have shared about their frustration getting responses from staff, understanding why projects were being delayed, and an inability to make essential repairs to school buildings.
“This bill is the result of many meetings I have had with stakeholders and members of the Legislature. Any changes of this magnitude will require ongoing stakeholder feedback and drafting adjustments, and I am committed to working with my colleagues and the interested parties to make sure this is done right so every student has an appropriate school building in which to learn, grow, and prepare for the future,” added Representative Udall.