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Lamont earmarks $90M for HVAC upgrades in schools

An air purifier in a classroom in Bridgeport
Hilary McDevitt
Photo provided by teacher
An air purifier in a classroom in Bridgeport

The governor has earmarked $90 million in his budget. This comes just a month after our Accountability Project found that one-third of districts say they can’t afford the upgrades.

Gov. Ned Lamont is following up on a promise to help school districts upgrade their aging heating, ventilation and cooling systems during the pandemic. He’s earmarked $90 million in his budget for such projects. This comes just a month after our Accountability Project found that one-third of districts say they can’t afford the upgrades.

Lamont is asking the legislature to help establish a grant program for school districts to get state aid to upgrade their HVAC systems, and he wants to use federal American Rescue Plan dollars to fund it.

It’s a change of heart for Lamont, who told CT Public last year that local districts should take the lead on HVAC upgrades and that they should have the resources to do so.

A day after our reports showed that a third of districts said they didn’t have the money for upgrades, Lamont promised to help.

If Lamont gets his way, municipalities would have to provide matching grants to fund the HVAC projects.

The proposal is now being considered by the legislature’s Education Committee.

Walter Smith Randolph is Connecticut Public’s Investigative Editor. In 2021, Walter launched The Accountability Project, CT Public’s investigative reporting initiative. Since then, the team’s reporting has led to policy changes across the state. Additionally, The Accountability Project’s work has been honored with a National Edward R. Murrow award from RTDNA, two regional Murrow awards, a national Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists, three regional EMMY nominations and a dozen CT SPJ awards.
Jacqueline Rabe Thomas was an investigative reporter with Connecticut Public’s Accountability Project from July 2021 until August 2022.

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