Section 235.2155, Florida Statutes 2001
235.2155 School Infrastructure Thrift Program Act.--
(1) This section and s. 235.216 may be cited as the "School Infrastructure Thrift Program Act."
(2) The School Infrastructure Thrift Program (SIT Program) is established within the Department of Education, and the State Board of Education may adopt rules as necessary to operate the program. To facilitate the program's purposes, the department shall aggressively seek the elimination or revision of obsolete, excessively restrictive, or unnecessary laws, rules, and regulations for the purpose of reducing the cost of constructing educational facilities and related costs without sacrificing safety or quality of construction. Such efforts must include, but are not limited to, the elimination of duplicate or overlapping inspections; the relaxation of requirements relating to the life cycle of buildings, landscaping, operable glazing, operable windows, radon testing, firesafety, and emergency shelter construction where lawful, safe, and cost-beneficial; and other cost savings identified as lawful, safe, and cost-beneficial.
(3) The SIT Program is designed as:
(a) An incentive program to reward districts for:
1. Savings realized through functional, frugal construction.
2. Savings realized through the operation of charter schools in non-school-district facilities during the 1996-1997, 1997-1998, 1998-1999, and 1999-2000 school years.
(b) A recognition program to provide an annual SMART school of the year recognition award to the district that builds the highest quality functional, frugal school.
(4) Funds shall be appropriated to the SIT Program on an annual basis as determined by the Legislature. Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 216.301 and pursuant to s. 216.351, undisbursed balances of appropriations to the SIT Program shall not revert. It is the intent of the Legislature to continue funding the SIT Program with funds available through frugal government operation and agency savings.
(5) Participating school districts may seek SIT Program awards beginning July 1, 1997, for projects commenced after or for projects underway at that time, if the projects comply with s. 235.216.
(6)(a) Each school district may submit to the SMART Schools Clearinghouse, with supporting data, its request, based on eligibility pursuant to s. 235.216 for an award of SIT Program dollars.
(b) The SMART Schools Clearinghouse shall examine the supporting data from each school district and shall report to the commissioner each district's eligibility pursuant to s. 235.216. Based on the clearinghouse's report and pursuant to ss. 235.217 and 235.218, the clearinghouse shall make recommendations, ranked in order of priority, for SIT Program awards.
(c) The criteria for SIT Program evaluation and recommendation for awards must be based on the school district's eligibility pursuant to s. 235.216 and the balance of dollars in the SIT Program.
(7) Awards from the SIT Program shall be made by the commissioner from funds appropriated by the Legislature. An award funded by an appropriation from the General Revenue Fund may be used for any lawful capital outlay expenditure. An award funded by an appropriation of the proceeds of bonds issued pursuant to s. 235.2195 may be used only for bondable capital outlay projects.
History.--s. 22, ch. 97-153; s. 2, ch. 97-265; s. 8, ch. 97-384; s. 7, ch. 99-329.