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State has $75 million available in school repair grants

Feb. 13—The Pennsylvania Department of Education announced $75 million in grant funding to help schools make environmental repairs and improvements.

"Preparing and nurturing the next generation of successful Pennsylvanians starts with making sure all students have a safe, healthy environment to learn in," Secretary Dr. Khalid N. Mumin said.

"These grants help school districts make necessary upgrades and repairs to their buildings and learning spaces to ensure that our students and school staff have safe air to breathe, water to drink, and classrooms to learn in."

Eliminating lead and asbestos along with other environmental contaminants in schools lowers cumulative exposure across childhood, leads to better cognitive and overall health outcomes for children and increases the likelihood of academic and career success.

The Department of Education's Public School Environmental Repairs Grant Program focuses on remediating and abating environmental hazards in schools to create the safe, healthy learning environments that students and staff deserve.

The 2023-24 enacted budget allocated $75 million for the program, and is open to school districts, career and technical centers and charter schools.

The department will accept applications from May 1 through June 30. Schools may apply for funding to abate or remediate environmental hazards including, but not limited to, lead in water sources, asbestos and mold inside school buildings. Entities may apply for funding for eligible expenses incurred on or after July 1, 2023.

School entities may apply using the PDE's School Construction and Maintenance Management system, accessible through MyPDESuite.

The 2023-24 budget also earmarked $100 million for the Department of Community and Economic Development's Public School Facility Improvement Grant Program, which provides grants for heating and air conditioning upgrades, window replacement, lead and asbestos abatement and other improvement projects for eligible schools. The state department will begin accepting applications March 1.

dwachter@ncnewsonline.com