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Tri-County School District receives $2 million grant

The Tri-County School District in Karlstad, Minn., has been granted $2 million in no-interest or low-interest bonding authority for energy efficiency projects including upgrading the school's heating, cooling and ventilation systems, state educat...

The Tri-County School District in Karlstad, Minn., has been granted $2 million in no-interest or low-interest bonding authority for energy efficiency projects including upgrading the school's heating, cooling and ventilation systems, state education officials announced Friday.

The $2 million is part of nearly $76 million in bonding authority made available to the state by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and authorized by the Minne-sota Department of Education.

School districts must issue the bonds by Dec. 31 and use the proceeds to build, repair or renovate public school facilities. If they are unable to meet requirements to issue bonds by the end of the year, districts may go on a waiting list for bonding authority in 2010.

Tri-County officials were not available for comment Friday, and it was unclear whether issuance of such bonds would require voter approval.

Of 26 school districts and charter schools that submitted applications totaling $253 million in 2009 bonding authority, 12 were approved based on geography, district resources, project readiness and a preference for deferred maintenance over new construction, according to the state education department.

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In addition to the 12 districts around the state, the federal government granted similar bonding authority of $21.7 million to the Minneapolis School District and $16.1 million to the St. Paul district.

Projects include boiler, roof or lighting replacement, heating and ventilation improve-ments and classroom upgrades.

Bonding authority amounts announced Friday ranged from $305,000 for the Hancock School District to more than $16.75 million for the Hastings district.

State school officials said they expect Minnesota will receive a similar amount of bonding authority for allocation in 2010. Districts with qualifying projects that applied in 2009 but did not receive bonding authority will receive priority for 2010.

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