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Lamont earmarks $90M for HVAC upgrades in schools

Air purifier in Bridgeport classroom.jpg
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 the Investigative Editor and Director of The Accountability Project at Connecticut Public Broadcasting. The New York City native comes to CT Public after a decade of reporting at local tv stations across the country.
Jacqueline Rabe Thomas was an investigative reporter with Connecticut Public’s Accountability Project from July 2021 until August 2022.

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