“Maintaining healthy school indoor air quality is essential to ensuring safe, healthy learning environments for children to thrive in,” CEA Legislative Coordinator Louis Rosado Burch told members of the legislature’s Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee today during a public hearing. Rosado Burch was speaking in support of a proposal in Governor’s Bill 980, An Act Authorizing and Adjusting Bonds of the State, that would increase bonding funds available for school HVAC upgrades from $75 million to $375 million.
“It’s estimated that there are hundreds of schools across the state that require significant HVAC upgrades, and it can cost up to $500,000 to retrofit a single school. Unfortunately, hundreds of school buildings across the state are lacking proper heating and air conditioning or are served by heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems that are aging or in disrepair,” Rosado Burch said.
Last year Public Act 22-118 established the Connecticut School HVAC grant program to support local boards of education with the resources to make necessary upgrades to their systems. That included $75 million in bond funds to reimburse boards of education for the costs of maintaining and upgrading their HVAC systems. The state received approximately 160 requests for funding from districts around the state, substantially outpacing the funds available.
The governor’s bill increases the bonding allocation for the school HVAC grant program from $75 million to $375 million, with $150 million of that money being authorized as of July of 2024.
“These are essential funds that will go a long way toward improving the indoor air quality in our schools, protecting the health of students and staff, and improving educational outcomes for children across Connecticut,” Rosado Burch said.
To learn more about indoor air quality improvements needed in public schools and how to advocate for healthy schools for all, register for tomorrow’s Breathing Better: Healthy Schools Forum taking place at the Legislative Office Building. The forum will also be streamed live on CT-N.