California Schools Can Now Apply for Prop. 39 Funds to do Energy Upgrades

State Now Accepting Expenditure Plans from Schools Looking to Save Money and Energy

SACRAMENTO – California schools looking to use Proposition 39 money for eligible energy projects can now submit expenditure plans to the State and take advantage of various resources to help them through the application process.

Local Education Agencies (LEAs) can visit the Proposition 39 section of the Energy Commission’s website, where they will find an Energy Expenditure Plan Handbook, application forms and related resources such as energy savings calculators. These materials are designed to help LEAs submit complete energy expenditure plans that meet requirements of the Prop. 39 California Clean Energy Jobs Act 2013 Program Implementation Guidelines.

"Schools can use this money to make their buildings more comfortable and safe for both students and teachers, creating better learning environments," said Energy Commissioner Andrew McAllister. "These projects will save schools energy and money, and will generate billions of dollars in economic activity—jobs—and all Californians will enjoy a cleaner environment as a result."

LEAs may spend money on a variety of energy projects including: improving lighting controls and occupancy sensors; replacing incandescent exit signs; installing and repairing new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; replacing old, wasteful boilers and furnaces; and installing clean energy generation projects. Project-related health and safety work is allowed, worth up to 5 percent of each LEA’s P39 allocation. Projects that are approved in early 2014 may begin construction this summer.

In the 2013-14 fiscal year, $464 million has been allocated as follows:

  • Local educational agencies—which include county offices of education, school districts, charter schools, and state special schools—will receive $381 million for energy efficiency and clean energy projects approved and administered by the California Energy Commission with funds disbursed by the California Department of Education.
  • California community college districts will receive $47 million administered by the Chancellor’s Office for energy efficiency and clean energy projects.
  • The Energy Commission received $28 million for low-interest and no-interest revolving loans for eligible energy projects and technical assistance.
  • The California Conservation Corps received $5 million to perform energy surveys and other energy conservation-related activities.
  • The California Workforce Investment Board received $3 million to develop and implement a competitive grant program for eligible workforce training organizations to prepare disadvantaged youth, veterans, and others for employment in clean energy fields.

Applications must be submitted through the Energy Commission’s Prop. 39 online database. The Commission will review and approve applicants’ energy project proposals, and the California Department of Education (CDE) will award grant funding in spring of 2014. The CDE grant allocation is based on a formula that includes average daily attendance and the number of students receiving free and reduced-price meals for the prior fiscal year.

Applicants with questions about the application process can call a toll-free hotline (855-380-8722) for in-state calls and an out-of-state hotline (916-653-0392) or email the Commission at LEAs can also take advantage of training workshops and webinars that are being held starting this month.

In December, the Energy Commission adopted the California Clean Energy Jobs Act (Prop. 39) Guidelines. Prop. 39, approved by voters in 2012, changed the corporate income tax structure and transfers up to $500 million annually from the General Fund to the Clean Energy Job Creation Fund for five fiscal years beginning in fiscal year 2013-2014.The funds can be used by LEAs to complete energy efficiency and clean energy projects and make energy related improvements and repairs that reduce operating costs and enhance health and safety conditions in public schools.

Energy Commission staff accelerated program development and delivered full program guidelines six months after funding legislation (Senate Bill 73) was approved last June. That legislation defines how grants will be allocated to California's K-12 schools and community colleges, and includes requirements meant to ensure schools are accountable for implementing projects that deliver the expected energy and cost savings.

The Energy Commission is collaborating on this effort with the California Department of Education, California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, California Public Utilities Commission, California Workforce Investment Board, the Division of the State Architect, and the California Conservation Corps.

Source: CEC