Saud Anwar

State Senator

Saud Anwar

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working For You

September 14, 2022

Senator Anwar Joins Governor Lamont, State Leaders For Announcement Of Public School Air Quality Upgrades, Based On Legislation He Wrote

Today, State Senator Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor) joined Governor Ned Lamont, Department of Administrative Services Commissioner Michelle Gilman, State Department of Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker, South Windsor Mayor Elizabeth Pendleton, South Windsor Public Schools Superintendent Kate Carter, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, Connecticut Education Association President Kate Dias and many additional state and local leaders at South Windsor’s Philip R. Smith Elementary School for the announcement of $150 million released toward a new state grant program aiding schools across the state for upgrades to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in Connecticut public schools.

The funding supports vital upgrades to improve air quality in public schools, an issue Sen. Anwar was a leader on; he helped draft language on the issue approved in the state’s budget in 2022, acutely aware of the importance of ensuring children grow up healthier and are not impacted negatively in the classroom.

“Teachers, we hear you. Students, we hear you. Parents, we hear you,” said Sen. Anwar. “Studies show that up to 10% of student and teacher populations may have asthma or allergies. Indoor air quality can make these worse. People spend up to 90% of their time indoors, and sometimes, the indoor environment can be dangerous if the air movement, allergens and temperature are not appropriate. Sometimes, the schools we rely on as sources of education, wellbeing and happiness can become sources of illness, especially older ones. This program will start to address this challenge. We want to make sure all of our students and teachers are protected in this environment. We have resources from the federal and state governments to aid us, to know that teachers and students will be able to reach their full potential through these needed, necessary improvements.”

“One thing the COVID-19 pandemic showed is that many school buildings in our state, particularly those that are of a certain age, are in serious need of air quality improvements,” Governor Lamont said. “Modernized ventilation systems provide an important public health function that filtrate the air and reduce airborne contaminants, including particles containing viruses. Most importantly, these air filtration systems will help ensure that our students can continue receiving their education in-person, in the classroom, where they learn best. Over the last two years, school districts in Connecticut have invested more than $165 million in COVID-relief funding to make these kinds of air quality improvements, and by creating a state program dedicated to these upgrades, we can continue providing schools with additional funding to implement these much-needed infrastructure enhancements.”

“The Department of Administrative Services team is proud to launch this critical program to improve indoor air quality in schools and support Connecticut’s students, educational staff, and families,” said Commissioner Gilman. “We are grateful for the collaboration from the start of the session to today with our legislative partners, agency colleagues, union leadership, and other advocates. This partnership is a testament to the effectiveness of this administration, our COVID-19 response, and continued success to build a stronger future. I look forward to working with our schools on this important initiative in the coming months.”

The $150 million is a first investment in the program, with additional rounds of funding likely in future years if the General Assembly approves. Eligible projects for the funding include replacing, upgrading or repairing boilers and other heating and ventilation components; replacing controls and technology systems related to HVAC; installing or upgrading air conditioning or ventilation systems; and other similar work approved by the Department of Administrative Services. Grant distribution will be prioritized by age and condition of current HVAC systems or equipment, school air quality, school age and condition, school district master plans, availability of maintenance records, contracts or plans for routine maintenance and cleaning, and local education boards or educational service centers financing the remainder of costs.

Applications for the grant program are now open through December 1, with funding allocations expected to begin in early 2023. For more information on the program, including application information, visit