Virginia Board of Education awards $365 million for school construction

Published: May. 11, 2023 at 7:26 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - The Virginia Board of Education has awarded $365 million for school construction across the state.

28 school divisions will receive funding for 40 projects, and many of them are located in central, southside and western Virginia.

Kathleen Jackson is the Chief Financial Officer of Roanoke City Public Schools.

“We’re super excited to hear that we were included in the list of awarded projects,” Jackson said in an interview Thursday afternoon.

At a time when construction costs are rising, she said it was a relief to learn that three of the five projects Roanoke City Public Schools applied for were successful.

“Just to give you an example, one of the projects we did receive funding for is the replacement school, a new building, for Preston Park Elementary School,” she said. “We were looking at, potentially we would have to pause that project, because we wouldn’t yet have the money available to complete the next phases. We don’t have that issue any more, thanks to that grant.”

The General Assembly established the criteria, and the Department of Education ranked school divisions on their poor building conditions, commitment and need.

A community’s ability to pay and fiscal stress determined whether the award funded 10, 20 or 30% of a project’s cost.

The list includes more than $18 million for three projects in the city of Roanoke, $20 million for Halifax County High School and almost $50 million for three schools in Danville.

35 school divisions that applied for funding did not receive the school construction awards.

They have 30 days to appeal the board’s decision if they believe the Department of Education made a mistake in the way it scored the criteria.

The board did not award more than $80 million of the $450 million approved by the General Assembly. That money could fund a second, smaller round of awards.