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Funds from State Fiscal Stabilization Fund in Division A of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) may be used "for modernization, renovation, or repair of public school facilities and institutions of higher education facilities" [page 166, Sec. 14002(b)]. The School Construction Tax Credits in Division B of the ARRA ― also cited as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 (ARRTA) ― may be used for "the construction, rehabilitation, or repair of a public school facility, or for the acquisition of land on which such a facility is to be constructed" [page 166, Sec. 14002(b)].
Below are relevant sections of the Act, followed by links to resources.
Created in 1997 by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF) provides information on planning, designing, funding, building, improving, and maintaining safe, healthy, high performance schools. This site is updated daily.
NCEF has published a quick reference guide to ARRA funding available through federal agencies that could be used for the construction, modernization, renovation, or repair of education facilities. PDF (36K)
NCEF's Federal Stimulus Funding for School Modernization webpage provides useful information on funding for school modernization, renovation, and repair in ARRA, including the following recommendations for planning projects:
Ask these questions of each project:
Is it educationally appropriate? Some projects, like fixing a leaky roof, are an outright necessity, but many are judgment calls. Is money better spent on security cameras or improving classroom acoustics? Teachers need to be given an effective voice in these matters. The idea is to make both school buildings and students high performing.
Is it neighborhood friendly? School improvement projects often have an impact on the surrounding neighborhood. Consult with neighbors and give them the opportunity to voice their opinions. Treated with consideration, neighbors can be strong allies.
Is it environmentally sound? Energy efficiency should be a high priority for every project. Consult with experts who know how to save energy and enhance the learning environment.
What is its long term impact? Some schools need major short-term repairs just to keep functioning.
Organizations supporting this "high performance" approach to schools include:
- Collaborative for High Performance Schools
- U.S.G.B.C. Build Green Schools Program
- National Institute of Building Sciences
- Council of Educational Facility Planners International
- Green Building Initiative Green Globes ™
- American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers
- American Institute of Architects
- American Architectural Foundation
- 21st Century School Fund
- Society for College and University Planning
- ENERGY STAR for K-12 Schools
- EPA Healthy School Environments
- U.S. Access Board, Classroom Acoustics
- Healthy Schools Network
- More information on construction bonds
- Construction Management Association of America
- EnergySmart Schools
- GREENGUARD Environmental Institute
Links to relevant programs within ED:
The State and Municipal Resources page provides links to state and municipal websites with school facilities information.
An article in The Innovator looks at support for modernization, renovation, and repair of public school and college facilities under ARRA. ("Stimulus to Help Meet the Changing Needs of Today's Students and Communities," The Innovator, March 26, 2009).
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