School districts in Massachusetts will have access to $100 million in grant funding to enhance ventilation systems, the governor's office announced Monday.
The money is available through the American Rescue Plan, and will be targeted toward schools with "high concentrations of economically disadvantaged students, English language learners and communities disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic," a news release from Governor Charlie Baker's office said.
The grants will be passed out following a formula that allocates the largest portion of funding for the highest need districts, something that is required by the American Rescue Plan Act, the governor's office said. Over 20 districts could get up to $1 million, and several districts could get several million dollars, including Boston Public Schools, which is eligible to get up to $15 million, and Worcester Public Schools, which is eligible for up to $7 million.
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"This grant funding will address the needs of school facilities and will support important repairs to improve ventilation and indoor air quality, particularly in schools and communities significantly impacted by COVID-19," Governor Charlie Baker said in the news release. "Additionally, this funding offers an opportunity for schools to align their buildings with the Commonwealth’s net-zero goal and to make more environmentally-conscious infrastructure upgrades."
The state is urging districts to focus on "efficient, environmentally friendly" HVAC and air quality technologies while planning upgrades with the monies.
"With these grants, we can direct more resources to school districts with economically disadvantaged student populations that have a greater number of buildings with HVAC systems in need of moderate repairs, major repairs or complete replacement," Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said. "These grants will allow us to improve air quality for tens of thousands of students and educators in hundreds of school buildings across the Commonwealth."
School districts can apply for the grants to make the air system upgrades, which could include needs assessments, feasibility studies, repairs of existing systems, installation of new HVAC systems and more.
Eligible school districts can learn more here.