Bond Commission Expected to Approve Last of School Security Funding
The state Bond Commission is poised to approve about $185.2 million in general obligation bonds Friday, including the last $10 million for school safety and security improvements.
The state has already spent about $37 million to finance the hardening of school infrastructure in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The money was first authorized in 2013 and has been doled out school districts based on a competitive bidding process.
If the $10 million is approved Friday, the entire $47 million authorized by the General Assembly will have been spent.
The legislation authorizing the borrowing allowed towns and schools to be reimbursed for development or improvement of the “security infrastructure of schools.”
The improvements that qualify include the installation of surveillance cameras, penetration resistant vestibules, ballistic glass, solid core doors, double door access, computer-controlled electronic locks, entry door buzzer systems, scan card systems, panic alarms or other systems, the training of school personnel in the operation of maintenance of the security infrastructure of school buildings or the purchase of portable entrance security devices, including metal detector wands and screening machines and related training.
The gun man who killed 20 first graders and six educators in 2012 shot his way through a window next to the locked front door of the school.
The Bond Commission is also poised to approve a separate special tax obligation bond request for $282.6 million in transportation projects, including $60 million for the double tracking of the Hartford rail line and $200 million for the purchase of 60 rail cars for the New Haven line, including the nine new cafe cars and rehabilitation of the one existing cafe car.
Another $210.2 million special tax obligation bonds will pay for highway repairs under the state’s Fix-It-First program. It will also help pay for acquisition of property for bus and rail facilities, according to the agenda.
The Bond Commission also plans to authorize $10 million for “regenerative medicine research,” $8.3 million to improve technology in several state agencies including the Department of Social Services and the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The Hartford Housing Authority will get $5 million to demolish the Chester Bowles Housing Project. It’s one of the last state-run housing projects in the state.
In addition, the Bond Commission is poised to allocate $5 million in grants under the Manufacturing Assistance Act to Synchrony Bank in Stamford, which is one of the companies participating in the state’s Next Five Program, which gives economic incentives to companies that promise to create more than 200 jobs.
Another item on the agenda Friday is $300,000 to finance capital improvements at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, site of the University of Connecticut home football games. The money would be used for concrete repairs to prevent water damage and utility upgrades in the parking lots of the stadium.
Back in March, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said that plans to allow the state to borrow $2.7 billion this year. That’s up from the nearly $2.5 billion the state bonded in 2015.
If everything is approved Friday the state will be about $490 million below the $2.7 billion soft bond cap set by the governor.
The Bond Commission will meet at 10:30 a.m. Friday in Room 1E of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.