School Infrastructure Funding Deadlines Extended

Education | Infection Mitigation | HVAC Equipment

School Infrastructure Funding Deadlines Extended

School districts and charter school organizations have received extra time to spend billions of COVID-relief dollars designated for K-12 public schools, under updated guidance from the U.S. Department of Education (e.g., spending deadlines have been lengthened).

The U.S. Department of Education said extensions could reach 14-18 months and apply to all three rounds (roughly $280 billion) of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding.

“The Department does understand the need for schools to address urgent and pressing projects, including school infrastructure projects, intended to safeguard the health and safety of students, educators, and staff during this pandemic,” wrote Roberto Rodriguez, assistant secretary for the Education Department’s Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development.

In a related letter to AASA, the School Superintendents Association, the Education Department emphasized the importance of improving K-12 heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. “Indoor air quality plays a crucial role, not only in the spread or mitigation of COVID-19 but also in student achievement.”

The Department of Education acknowledged that roughly half of all public schools need to update or replace their HVAC systems.

An estimated 41 percent of school districts need to update or replace HVAC systems in at least half of their schools, representing about 36,000 schools nationwide according to a 2020 national survey by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Schools have until this September to “obligate” funds, or commit them to specific purposes from the first round of federal COVID relief, known as ESSER I. The deadline to commit the second round of funds, ESSER II, is September 2023, and for ESSER III is September 2024.

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What To Do Next?
Contact local school officials to see what IAQ improvements are planned. Start with the usual suspects:

  • Campus facilities directors. These individuals are an ideal initial contact, but they will need your support to convince school/district decision-makers. Also, target school construction managers or consulting mechanical engineers (e.g., Architecture /Engineering Firms).
  • School boards. In most districts, the school board has very little influence on what specific vendors are chosen by the district.
  • Superintendents. These officials have an extraordinary reach when it comes to making purchase decisions in schools and districts. Superintendents are often involved before any final buy decision is made.

Get to know these people ahead of time. Show how well our GLO upper room UVGI and airstream disinfection systems make all community stakeholders safer.

TIP: Visit the district’s webpage to identify key issues and players. Read the superintendent’s posts, minutes of the board meetings, etc. Share success stories from other school or college projects.

Published Aug. 3, 2022