The House Appropriations Committee proposed revisions to the state’s spending plan for the next two years, including $2 billion in financing for a new program, the School Construction Loan Rebate Program, to assist restore aged and decaying schools.
House Bill 563, presented by Deputy Majority Leader Israel O’Quinn of the Fifth District, established the program.
“The entire Southwest Virginia Legislative Delegation has worked on this with me, and we are excited to see this progress,” Delegate O’Quinn said. “Our delegation has banded together with local school divisions as well as other legislators and school divisions from across the state to tackle this issue. This year, we are finally moving the needle in a meaningful way that will actually solve the problem. I am very thankful that Appropriations Chairman Barry Knight and the Appropriations staff have worked to find a solution to Virginia’s crumbling schools. I am hopeful that this measure will be included in the Budget Conference Report.”
Local governments have been solely responsible for funding school building in Virginia. Schools were unable to address building issues on their campuses due to a lack of funding and no other options.
There are two tiers to the School Construction Loan Rebate Program:
- Tier 1 will provide rebates for up to $1 billion in school construction projects for 30 percent of total principal and interest costs;
- Tier 2 will provide interest-free loans for up to $1 billion in school construction projects based on the 2021 Virginia Public School Authority (VPSA) bond insurance rate.
In the years 2022-2024, the program will be able to fund 80 new primary school projects.
Both the House and the Senate will draft budget proposals for consideration. In order for the School Building Loan Rebate Program to take effect, both houses must adopt it, although both have shown a desire to act on school construction financing this session.