State Superintendent Mark Johnson announces $73 million in school construction grants to 6 districts

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(WNCT) North Carolina Superintendent Mark Johnson has announced that $73 million in grant funds from the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund will be awarded this year to school districts in Camden, Graham, Hertford, Northampton, Rutherford and Wilson counties.

The grant awards will allow for the construction of new school buildings in these economically distressed areas.

“This is the third year these funds have been made available to benefit our students and educators who have had to deal with outdated facilities,” Johnson said. “These grants will help address our state’s need to replace old, outdated schools with better learning environments. “

Awards include:

Wilson County: $15 million to expand the Wilson County Schools Early College of Applied Technology Academy, moving the Academy’s high school location from shared space in an existing high school to a new 75,000 square foot facility on the Wilson Community College Technology campus, located on land transferred to the school district. ($20 million total project cost).

The fund was created by the General Assembly to assist school districts in lower-wealth counties through revenue from the North Carolina Education Lottery.

Awards are capped at $15 million per project in Tier 1 (most distressed) counties and $10 million per project in Tier 2 counties.

The law requires a local match of $1 for every $3 in grant funds in Tier 1 and $1 for every $1 in Tier 2.

The fund was created to assist lower-wealth counties with their critical public school building capital needs.

County applications were reviewed based on priorities provided in the law, including the ability to generate revenue, high debt-to-tax revenue ratio, and the extent to which a project will address critical deficiencies in adequately serving the current and future student population.

An emphasis was placed on projects that were far enough along in the planning process that construction could begin within 12 months.

“I look forward to seeing these projects get underway in the coming months,” said Superintendent Johnson. “I thank the General Assembly for making these funds available to help schools in areas that are most in need.”

Over the last three years, the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund has awarded a total of $242 million dollars to local school districts, resulting in 22 new schools or buildings and the replacement of 32 schools. Click here for an infographic that details grants over the last three years.

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