School Modernization

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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.


Resources for Modernizing Schools disclaimer

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. Download files 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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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:

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).

This page contains news and information about public and private organizations for the reader's information. Inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any products or services offered or expressed. Please consult local and state authority regarding regulations and additional resources.

For questions about this site, please contact Lauren Lowenstein at

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Last Modified: 06/25/2009