OLYMPIA — Forty-three school districts across the state were collectively awarded $20.9 millionfor school facility energy cost savings improvements, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction announced April 2.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn noted that the money will help produce long-term operational savings for the districts and stimulate construction-industry jobs in heating, ventilation, building system controls, lighting, windows and other building systems.
“There is a very high demand in school districts for these funds,” Dorn said. “The great thing is that these funds not only make students’ lives better in the classroom, they also create well paying jobs across the state. This is truly a winning combination.”
In all, 70 school districts applied for grant funding for school infrastructure improvements that would exceed $65 million dollars of project costs. The majority of the districts have not received earlier energy grant funding. To qualify for the funds, school districts conducted preliminary and investment-grade audits of their school facilities that identified projects that would yield energy operational cost savings along with responding to facility needs. In most cases, state money is being augmented with utility incentive funds from local utility providers and local dollars.
The grant money was appropriated through the state Legislature for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to administer to school districts. Earlier legislative appropriated funding to OSPI for similar grants totaled $50 million in 2010 and $16.9 million in 2009.