Santa Rosa Elementary School
Santa Rosa Elementary School. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The Maricopa Unified School District will receive nearly $2 million in state grants to repair and upgrade several district facilities.

The grants are provided as a part of the Students FIRST law, a state capital finance program funded by appropriations from the state general fund and administered by the state’s School Facilities Board (SFB).

Since July 1, 2020, MUSD has been awarded about $980,000 in building renewal grants and anticipates receiving about $1 million more before June 30, 2021. The $980,000 already awarded is earmarked specifically for the following projects:

  • Santa Rosa Elementary roof construction – $434,845
  • Saddleback Elementary weatherization – $210,353
  • Pima Butte Elementary exterior weatherization – $188,556
  • Fire suppression pump – $123,631
  • Well rehabilitation – $28,439

The SFB grants funds to school districts for qualifying projects and is funded annually by the legislature. The board awards the Building Renewal Grants designed to help districts maintain buildings.

MUSD said in a news release it is focusing on roof and weatherization projects this year because they are the greatest need and among the most expensive.

Dr. Tracey Lopeman, the district superintendent, said the grants and the work they will fund are part of MUSD’s efforts to be fiscally responsible and a good community partner.

“The MUSD Governing Board and administration are committed to being good neighbors and instilling pride in our community,” she said. “We aggressively pursue Building Renewal Grants to maintain attractive facilities bringing value to our neighborhoods.”

District business director Jacob Harmon made it clear the BRG funds are being kept distinct from any federal or economic stimulus funds intended to help schools mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 virus, or to get kids back into the classroom.

“The Building Renewal Grant program is designed to help districts maintain buildings,” Harmon said. “It is not meant for addressing COVID-related needs.”

COVID needs are addressed through Emergency Solutions Grants and Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Response, he said.

Some projects require the district to fund a portion of the work, but according to the news release, the majority of this year’s projects have been fully funded for the cost of labor and materials. Last year, MUSD received $68,000 in such grants, and in the previous five years received a combined total of $915,000.