RICHMOND -- The West Contra Costa school district will receive $1.64 million a year for five years from a state grant to improve energy efficiency at its schools.

The district will use the money, authorized under Prop. 39 passed in November, principally for energy savings projects in schools, which might include solar panels or energy-efficient heating systems, at schools that are the next on its list for rebuilding, remodeling or repair, said trustee Charles Ramsey.

These schools include Pinole Valley High School, Wilson Elementary in Richmond, Stege Elementary in Richmond, Hercules Middle and High School and others, Ramsey said.

The district staff will be meeting with consultants to determine in more detail how best to use the money, said Magdy Abdalla, West Contra Costa's chief engineering officer.

When the district completes its plans, the California Energy Commission will review them and distribute the money for the projects it approves, according to Tom Duffy of the California Coalition for Adequate School Housing in Sacramento.

"West Contra Costa will be able to supplement its school construction bond money with these resources," Duffy said.

Prop. 39 will increase sales tax revenue by $1.1 billion per year and add 40,000 jobs, according to state Legislative Analyst's Office estimates, by requiring businesses that operate in several states to pay their income tax based on sales made in California.


Advertisement

The program will distribute $467 million to California K-12 schools, community colleges and energy conservation assistance programs in 2013-14, according to the state Department of Finance.

It will have $550 million to distribute statewide from 2014-15 through 2017-18, with 89 percent going to K-12 education, including school districts, county offices of education, charter schools and state special schools.

Schools will be able to roll over their annual allocations to save money for big projects. However, all the money must be spent by June 30, 2018.