Pennsylvania Education Department Allocates $75 Million for School Environmental Repairs, Aiming for Healthier Learning Environments

Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE)

HARRISBURG, PA — The Department of Education (PDE) has announced a grant funding allocation of $75 million aimed at facilitating environmental repairs and improvements in educational institutions across Pennsylvania.

“Preparing and nurturing the next generation of successful Pennsylvanians starts with making sure all students have a safe, healthy environment to learn in,” said Secretary Dr. Khalid N. Mumin. He emphasized that these grants would aid school districts in making necessary upgrades and repairs to their buildings and learning spaces, ensuring safe air, clean water, and conducive classrooms for students and staff alike.

The initiative aligns with growing recognition of the profound impact physical environments can have on child development and learning outcomes. By eliminating lead and asbestos, along with other environmental contaminants in schools, the PDE aims to lower cumulative exposure across childhood. This move is likely to lead to better cognitive and overall health outcomes for children, increasing the likelihood of academic and career success.

The Public School Environmental Repairs Grant Program, as it is titled, focuses on remediating and abating environmental hazards in schools to create the safe, healthy learning environments that students and staff deserve. The 2023-24 enacted budget allocated $75 million for the program, which is open to school districts, career and technical centers (CTCs), and charter schools.

From May 1, 2024, through June 30, 2024, the PDE will accept applications. Schools may apply for funding to abate or remediate environmental hazards including, but not limited to, lead in water sources, asbestos, and mold inside school buildings. Entities may apply for funding for eligible expenses incurred on or after July 1, 2023, using the PDE’s School Construction and Maintenance Management (SCMM) system, accessible through MyPDESuite.

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Additionally, the 2023-24 budget earmarked $100 million for the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Public School Facility Improvement Grant Program. This program provides grants for heating and air conditioning upgrades, window replacement, lead and asbestos abatement, and other improvement projects for eligible schools. Applications for this program will open on March 1.

This substantial investment in enhancing school environments marks an important step towards ensuring healthier, safer, and more conducive learning spaces for Pennsylvania’s students. By addressing these crucial infrastructural needs, the state is not only investing in its school buildings but also its future generations.

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