RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Earlier this year, Governor Ralph Northam announced that $250 million in COVID relief funding would go to local schools for much needed upgrades to ventilation and HVAC systems.
The upgrades will total over $500 million across the commonwealth, because localities are required to match received grants.
The deadline for funding applications is Nov. 15, and several local school board have already taken action, requesting millions for upgrades to their often outdated ventilation systems.
On Nov. 9, the Chesterfield County School Board approved a plan totaling $29,459,001 ($12,411,559 in grants and the rest funded by Chesterfield) to modernize HVAC systems in a number of schools. In a report to the board, Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty said the systems in some schools had experienced “equipment failures” while others were in need of preventative maintenance.
In Henrico, the school board agreed to put their funds to use on “ventilation replacement and improvement projects,” some of which were already in progress thanks to earlier rounds of funding.
Details of Richmond’s grant application were not available publicly, but Richmond Superintendent Jason Kamras told 8News that they hope to get a response to their funding application in Winter or early Spring.
He also noted that some aspects of the projects may be delayed by supply chain issues, but that there won’t be any major delays since they can begin making changes to the buildings as soon as funding is secured.
The funding formula used by VDOE is based in part on projected enrollment for next year, with a minimum allocation of $200,000. That means that while most school divisions received between $130-$190 per student, some smaller school divisions, like Charles City County, received a higher rate as a result of the funding floor.