Biden-Harris Administration Announces $47 Million in New Funding to Support School Infrastructure Investments

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $47 Million in New Funding to Support School Infrastructure Investments

January 4, 2024

The Biden-Harris Administration announced eight new grant awards today totaling more than $37 million over five years under the Supporting America’s School Infrastructure (SASI) program and one new grant for $10 million over five years under the National Center on School Infrastructure (NCSI) program. This $47 million investment, issued by the U.S. Department of Education (Department), bolsters the capacity of states to support school districts in improving school facilities with the goal of more equitable access to healthy, sustainable, and modern learning environments for all students. U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona will highlight this announcement during a visit to Virginia today with Ranking Member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. 

“These new investments in modern, healthy, and sustainable school infrastructure reflect the Biden-Harris Administration's commitment to both promoting student success and protecting our planet for generations to come," said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Research has shown that modern, well-maintained facilities and healthy learning environments can help schools Raise the Bar by increasing student achievement, reducing absenteeism, and improving teacher retention. At the Department of Education, we're going to keep fighting to provide every student in every community with access to safe and healthy 21st-century schools that inspire learning, unleash imagination, and motivate children and youth to bring their best each day." 

“Chronic neglect of America’s public schools has forced students and teachers across the country to learn and work in outdated and hazardous school buildings. Moreover, dilapidated and poorly ventilated school facilities pose significant health threats that make it harder for teachers to teach and students to learn," said Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03). “These new investments announced by the Education Department will help increase school districts capacity to improve school infrastructure. It is far past time to improve public education infrastructure." 

The SASI program is the first in the Department’s history intended to increase state capacity to support underserved school districts to improve their school facilities. States receiving SASI funds will be able to conduct school facility needs assessments in high-need school districts; hire new staff; and develop or improve public school infrastructure data systems, among other actions. The NCSI program will establish a national clearinghouse and technical assistance center that will consolidate federal resources related to public school infrastructure improvements that support safe, healthy, sustainable, and equitable public school facilities. NCSI will also provide targeted technical assistance to SASI grantees to expand state expertise in school infrastructure. 

Additionally, today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) is releasing new information on how school districts can file for tax credits for clean energy infrastructure through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The IRA provides for the largest investment in clean energy in U.S. history and has created a unique opportunity for K-12 school districts under provisions for direct pay. The NCSI will provide technical assistance to states and districts on federal opportunities that support school infrastructure, including these new tax credits.

The Department works closely across the Biden-Harris Administration to lead school infrastructure efforts, including through an Infrastructure and Sustainability initiative, which includes the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools recognition award, private sector school infrastructure and sustainability commitments, an annual Green Strides Tour, monthly Infrastructure and Sustainability News, as well as other public engagement on these topics.  

The Department also partners with federal agencies such as Treasury, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and others to provide resources, funds, and tax incentives that enhance equitable access to healthy, safe, sustainable, and modern school facilities. For example, the DOE now administers the Renew America’s Schools program focused on energy improvements at public school facilities. In addition, its Efficient and Healthy Schools Program leverages DOE labs’ technical expertise to benefit schools and offers recognition for their efforts. The Energy CLASS Prize builds capacity within districts to identify and implement energy and health improvements. There are currently numerous air quality initiatives at the EPA, including a significant investment in clean school buses, including both grants and rebates, with another $500 million round of rebates open until Jan. 31, and water quality programs such as the Voluntary School and Childcare Lead Testing and Reduction Grant. An additional $2 billion for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pollution in underserved communities is available through the Community Change Grants.  

Working together with these various agencies at the intersection of schools, climate, environmental justice, and infrastructure, the White House published a toolkit sharing Federal resources for addressing school infrastructure needs in April 2022 with an update to this toolkit anticipated to be released in 2024.
    
The SASI grantees are listed below: 


Agency 

Total Funding Level over Five Years 

Alabama State Department of Education 

$4,565,574 

Arizona Department of Administration 

$4,997,500 

California Department of Education 

$4,992,083 

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Public School System 

$4,999,005 

Oregon Department of Education 

$4,999,997 

Pennsylvania Department of Education 

$2,644,993 

Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 

$4,960,860 

Virginia Department of Education 

$5,000,000 

  
The NCSI grantee is listed below: 


Grantee Consortium 

Total Funding Level over Five Years 

Institute of Urban and Regional Development at the University of California-Berkeley, 21st Century School Fund, National Council on School Facilities, and Child Trends 

$10,000,000 

  
For more information about each program’s awards, please visit the SASI award page here and the NCSI award page here. Also consult the ED Infrastructure and Sustainability Initiative for more information on public engagement efforts in these areas.