U.S. Department of Education funding from the Supporting America’s School Infrastructure (SASI) grant program will allow the continued improvement of school facilities and equitable learning environments
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Governor Dan McKee and Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green announced the agency received nearly $5 million in school infrastructure grant funding through the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE)’s Supporting America’s School Infrastructure (SASI) program. The federal grants, totaling $47 million across the nation, will strengthen the capacity of RIDE’s ongoing priority of improving school facilities to ensure equitable access to modern learning environments for all students. Rhode Island is only one of seven State Education Agencies (SEAs) that received funding.
“Modern and sustainable school facilities are critical in ensuring our students are able to learn year-round and be present in the classroom,” said Governor Dan McKee. “Over the past few years, we have upgraded several school buildings across the Ocean State to support the best outcomes for students. Thank you to the U.S. Department of Education and the Biden-Harris Administration for offering this important funding to help ongoing school improvements across Rhode Island.”
“21st century school infrastructure is necessary for promoting student success in Rhode Island,” said Board of Education Chair Michael Grey. “The U.S. Department of Education’s efforts to support RIDE’s continued priority of upgrading learning environments is commendable, and we are thankful for all the work the agency is doing in support of our kids.”
“Students cannot be successful unless they are in class, and improving educational facilities to be more welcoming is one of the most important ways to go about ensuring student success,” said Chair of the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education Patti DiCenso. “I am grateful for all of the work that RIDE is doing in conjunction with the federal government to make sure our students are engaged in a high-quality education in cutting-edge spaces.”
“Ensuring that all Rhode Island students have equitable access to healthy, safe and 21st century learning spaces is paramount for RIDE,” said Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “This federal grant will support our continued efforts to upgrade school facilities around the state to new or like-new status and provide high-quality environments for all students to attend class everyday. I am grateful the U.S. Department of Education has recognized and is supporting the important work we’re doing in Rhode Island.”
According to USDOE, the SASI program is the first in the agency’s history that works to increase state support for improving school facilities in underserved school districts. Through this funding, Rhode Island will be able to conduct facility needs assessments in high-need local education agencies (LEAs); hire new staff; improve public school data infrastructure; and more.
Recently, state, city, and school leaders gathered in Pawtucket to spotlight the upcoming construction of the new Pawtucket high school. The new high school will be built where the former McCoy Stadium currently stands and is part of the recently approved $1 billion in school construction projects by the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education.
Additionally, in partnership with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, school districts can file for tax credits for clean energy infrastructure through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). According to the federal government, the IRA provides the largest investment in clean energy in U.S. history and has developed a unique opportunity for K-12 LEAs under provisions for direct pay.