Contract Surety

Burst of Upgrades: School Buildings



Federal funding from the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief (ESSER) allocations has spurred optimism in school districts across the country. Projects that would ordinarily be nearly impossible to tackle are underway. Here are examples—and a chance to up your bidding capacity too.


Facility Enhancement

K-12 Dive reports that many school districts are strategically using ESSER funds for “comprehensive infrastructure projects that will reduce costs and stabilize budgets for years to come, all while modernizing the learning environment to meet changing needs post-pandemic.” For example, Dekalb County Schools leveraged ESSER funds “to improve indoor air quality….By addressing their maintenance backlog and implementing energy and operational conservation technologies…the county reduced costs by 29 percent. DeKalb’s leaders captured those savings and reinvested them to improve safety and security measures on campus, an important project that the district was struggling to fund.” Another example of  how carefully planned construction projects can result in a “foundation for improved efficiency, streamlined operations and more flexible, effective learning spaces” is the St. Joseph School District in Missouri, where ESSER funds have been used for “comprehensive facility enhancement.” Specifically:


The multi-phase project includes many air quality improvements, including replacing end-of-lifecycle HVAC systems and extending heating and cooling into new parts of school buildings that were not previously conditioned. These improvements will enhance the learning environment for the students and save the district nearly $4 million over 15 years.

These same building initiatives that can be covered by ESSER today have traditionally been funded by taxpayers.…Thanks to this once-in-a-generation stimulus program, districts that are proactive and allocate all available funding by the deadlines, can demonstrate to the community how they’re leading through wise fiscal stewardship.      


Time Sensitive

With time ticking on use of the ESSER funds, contractors expect the next two summers will be an especially busy time for executing school projects. K-12 Dive points out that the time crunch is on for spending out ESSER dollars ahead of deadlines, though the government has made some provisions for extension:


Recently, the U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DoE) adopted a new timeline that makes facility modernization and capital improvement projects much more feasible for district leaders. The DoE extended the spending timelines related to ESSER III School Funding, which provides schools with $122 billion in relief and recovery funds.  Before the extension, all funds had to be obligated by September 30, 2024 and spent within 120 days, by January 2025. Under these tight timelines, labor shortages and supply chain issues were putting much-needed capital improvement projects at risk of non-completion. Now, districts may extend the spending timelines up to 18 months, to April 2026, to complete a project. Funds still must be allocated by September 30, 2024. States need to formally apply to the U.S. Department of Education on behalf of their school districts to receive the extension.


Time sensitivities mean that contractors who have a surety line of credit and the ability to swiftly bid have an edge on the competition. Get your edge today by qualifying for The Partnership Account® for Contractors. Then, watch your wins pile up as you leverage your:


  • surety line of credit—in writing;
  • private digital dashboard;
  • daily snapshot of single and aggregate limits
  • ability to update work on hand—and increase your aggregate.


All this, plus, we give you power of attorney to issue your own bid bonds. Come on: bid more and win more, starting today.


Pre-Qualify Right Here.


Very Clever!

Construction Dive reports that the Virginia Board of Education has recently voted to invest $365 million in school construction: “The money will fund 40 projects in elementary, middle and high schools across 28 school divisions primarily located in central, south and western Virginia.” But that’s not all. Recognizing that the construction workforce of tomorrow is in school today:


Lisa Coons, Virginia’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, announced $600,000 in competitive grants awarded to 16 school divisions for upgrading equipment for career and technical education and science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs. Each division will receive $37,500 to purchase new equipment or make other improvements to enhance learning. “These grants continue to allow our school divisions to develop robust and innovative CTE programs that are up to date technologically and help prepare students for the realities and expectations of today’s workforce,” Coons said.


You can be more clever too as you steer your business into the future. Once qualified, The Partnership Account®  gives contractors a surety line of credit—in writing—and a private digital dashboard, providing daily snapshots of single and aggregate limits and bond capacity. Go ahead: update work on hand, increase the aggregate and hit the green light on your next build.


Pre-Qualify and Get Free Scores Here.


Founded in 1930, Colonial Surety Company is a leading direct seller and writer of surety bonds and insurance products across the USA. Colonial is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company and U.S. Treasury listed.