As summer break commences, school district leaders face unprecedented challenges from staffing to supply shortages to rising inflation. The U.S. Department of Education recognized the mounting concerns and notified the American Association of School Superintendents (AASA) leadership that it will allow a timeline extension for American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funded school facilities and construction projects.
According to the AASA, “States and districts will be allowed to apply for an additional 18 months to liquidate funding for all ESSER tranches of funding (including ARP) for school facility upgrades/HVAC work. In the context of ARP, this means that if the contract for these projects is signed by the district by September 2024, then the project would not need to be liquidated and the ARP funds completely spent until April 2026”. Further details are still being outlined as ED works through the extension process.
Stay the Course
While this extension could provide relief in certain situations, it also reinforces the need for districts to stay the course. In the midst of so many challenges, there should be a continued focus on planning projects that invest in creating a healthier indoor environment while addressing improved efficiency, resiliency and aging infrastructure priorities.
Invest, Don’t Spend
Trane is helping school districts across the country navigate what may feel to many like uncharted territory. Trane’s expertise helps schools assess facility infrastructure and ultimately determine how best to invest allocated funds in the timeline provided. This provides school districts’ leadership and community the roadmap to invest wisely in system upgrades for maximum long-term performance, with a balanced approach to improving the indoor environment quality and increasing energy efficiency.
Maximize your education return
Integrating facility upgrades into the education process to teach students about STEM through hands-on learning and career exploration can increase your return on investment exponentially. Trane’s K-12 education programs pull in industry-relevant resources to prepare students with the practical skills needed after graduation.
In addition to assisting districts in making thoughtful investment decisions, Trane also helps make those investment dollars work smarter, including researching financing solutions available to maximize project impact (supplementing ESSER funding with other grants, rebates as well as structured finance solutions).