North Carolina state schools superintendent Mark Johnson has announced that $141 million in grant funds from the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund will be awarded this year to 13 school districts in 12 counties.
The counties include Anson, Ashe, Caldwell, Caswell, Cherokee, Columbus, Martin, McDowell, Mitchell, Nash, Swain and Tyrrell.
The grant awards will allow for construction of new school buildings in these economically distressed areas.
“Through these grants, we will help address our state’s need to replace old, outdated schools with better learning environments,” Johnson said. “This is the second year these funds have been made available to benefit our students and educators who have had to deal with outdated facilities.”
Anson County: $15 million for initial costs for a new Anson Middle School ($49.4 million total project cost);
Ashe County: $15 million for a new Ashe County Middle School ($34.9 million total project cost);
Caldwell County: $15 million for a new Granite Falls Middle School ($20 million total project cost)
Caswell County: $15 million for a new Bartlett Yancey High School ($32 million total project cost);
Cherokee County: $15 million for Early College High School, Alternative High School, Career Academy ($20 million total project cost);
Columbus County Schools: $10.6 million for West Columbus PK-8 ($19.1 million total project cost); and Whiteville City Schools: $4.3 million for new buildings at Whiteville High School ($21.1 million total project cost);
Martin County: $5.3 million for a new CTE Center ($7.1 million total project cost);
McDowell County: $15 million for a new Old Fort Elementary School ($21.2 million total project cost);
Mitchell County: $15 million for a new grades 3-8 elementary school/middle school ($26.5 million total project cost);
Nash County, Nash-Rocky Mount: $10 million for a new Red Oaks Elementary School ($20 million total project cost);
Swain County: $4.7 million for a new building at Swain High School ($7 million total project cost); and
Tyrrell County: $637,000 for Columbia High School/Early College ($850,000 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 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.