With the aging of New Jersey school facilities, coupled with the need to keep up with technology advances and health and safety requirements, the Regular Operating District (ROD) Grants for Capital Needs is urgently needed by most school districts this year. With the May 1st deadline fast approaching, the education architects at SSP are providing guidance for schools looking for the best way to access these grant funds – part of the $350 million appropriated to the New Jersey Schools Development Authority.
Projects eligible for funding include repairing and replacing roofs and the building’s exterior skin, upgrading building systems, technology infrastructure, structural renovations, internal and external network wiring, and complying with ADA (American with Disabilities Act) requirements. Improving air quality to help protect against the spread of infectious diseases has been added to this year’s eligible projects.
“Using an architect like SSP that is experienced with the ROD grant process can be helpful to schools in determining the most likely capital projects to receive funding and the usual funding limits for these projects. Schools with realistic funding requests are more likely to get money. Working together, the architect can assist the district in identifying the priority projects from the district’s master plan that are eligible for funding and ultimately maximize the district’s dollar,” said Tammy Stouchko, Principal at SSP Architects in Somerville, New Jersey.
ROD grants provide a portion of funding for capital projects – allowing school districts to receive at least 40% of approved eligible project costs. Stouchko said she and other school architect SSP team members have been hearing from State contacts that with more schools expected to apply for ROD grants this year, the major funding priority areas will focus on larger items such as HVAC and electrical upgrades and renovating the building envelopes of school facilities.
“We have been working with many districts recently on ways to improve indoor air quality. The struggle was finding the funding. Unlike ESSER, the ROD Grant funding does not have the end date for spending. The ROD Grants are providing a more feasible funding source for HVAC replacements,” said Stouchko.
According to the New Jersey Department of Education, only projects that do not require a local referendum to raise the local funding portion of the project will be eligible for ROD grant funds and the district match cannot come for previous referendum monies.
“In these challenging economic times, New Jersey schools should take advantage of this State funding opportunity. It’s been great working with school districts over the years to successfully complete projects that were made possible with ROD grant funding. No district should leave these funds behind,” said Stouchko.
Administrators can reach Tammy Stouchko at email@example.com if they have any questions about the ROD grant process or what projects are eligible. Administrators can also contact us online to learn more about our other school architecture projects.