Julie Kushner

State Senator

Julie Kushner

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working Together for Progress

May 20, 2024


Monday, May 20, 2024


Sen. Kushner, Rep. Girvalo, First Selectperson Marconi, Supt. Da Silva and students outside of the Ridgefield Public School offices

RIDGEFIELD – State Senators Julie Kushner (D-Danbury) and Ceci Maher (D-Wilton) and state Representative Aimee Berger-Girvalo (D-Ridgefield) today joined Ridgefield Superintendent of Schools Dr. Susie Da Silva and Ridgefield First Selectperson Rudy Marconi to announce that the state Department of Administrative Services (DAS) has unveiled its 2024 list of Indoor Air Quality grants for public schools in Connecticut, and that eight Ridgefield schools will receive a total of $191,454 to help pay for a variety of projects, including the installation of

ventilators, mini-split air conditioners, roof exhaust fans, upgraded heating and cooling, air exchange and heat recovery, heat pumps, and other air quality-related work.

The state grants cover 23.57% of the projects’ total cost; the projects total $812,278, and after the grant reimbursement of $191,454, Ridgefield will pay $620,824.

“Back in 2022 I founded the School Indoor Air Quality Working Group and was appointed co-chair. Since then, we’ve worked very hard to meet, listen to the experts, and make

recommendations about improving school air quality, which can really affect the ways that students learn and teachers teach,” Sen. Kushner said. “I’m very thankful that the General Assembly and Governor Lamont have partnered to fund this program and that schools all across Connecticut, including right here in Ridgefield, are taking advantage of the opportunity

to address classroom temperatures that are too hot or too cold, mold, pest infestations, hazardous odors, or even the spread of infectious diseases. It’s going to be a game-changer for our students and teachers.”

“During COVID we came to understand the importance of ensuring circulating clean air in our classrooms. The continued investment in improving school air quality statewide will also benefit Ridgefield’s school community and support educational growth across eight local schools, improving the air for everyone from first graders to high schoolers,” said Sen. Maher. “It’s wonderful for our state to have such strong support and I’m grateful to Governor Lamont for his foresight and dedication to our schools.”

“Ridgefield is consistently rated among the top school districts in the country, but academics are only part of that story,” said Rep. Berger-Girvalo. “The health and safety of our children are as important as their intellectual development, and the quality of the air they breathe is a critical factor. Unsurprisingly, Superintendent DaSilva and our Board of Education have advocated strongly for a healthy environment for our children, and I’m grateful for the work done by the Education Committee, the Indoor Air-Quality Working Group, and the governor for their commitment to this endeavor.”

“This grant will undoubtedly have an impact, not only in terms of immediate improvements to our existing HVAC systems, but also in fostering greater sustainability, energy efficiency, and comfort within the designated facilities,” Superintendent Da Silva said. “When these grant opportunities were announced, the Ridgefield Public Schools facilities team identified work that was already in the queue and which fit the description of the grant; in other words, we did not elect to make these HVAC improvements because of a possible grant award — these improvements had to occur to keep our systems running, and we sought grant support as a subsidy to minimize the end cost to the town.”

“As First Selectperson of Ridgefield, I can say that we are always appreciative of any funds from the State of Connecticut to help defray infrastructure costs to the taxpayers of Ridgefield,” said First Selectperson Marconi. “The quality of air that our children and teachers breathe daily is as important as the quality of education our children receive. Thank you to Senator Kushner, Senator Maher and Representative Berger-Girvalo for their efforts in securing these funds for Ridgefield.”

The DAS grants will help pay for the following upgrades:


Ridgefield High School

Replace 2 heat pump and cooling units

Replace 4 air exchange energy heat recovery assemblies

Replace a 5-Ton split cooling system


Alternative High School

Update and replace main HVAC system (Heat Pump)

Update and replace dual zone heat pump system


East Ridge Middle School

Replace Trane rooftop unit (RTU)

Install new ductless mini-split unit


Barlow Mountain Elementary School

Install vertical unit ventilator for classroom

Replace self-contained unit ventilator

Replace upper and lower roof exhaust fan units


Branchville Elementary School

Replace 11 roof-mounted exhaust fans

Installed ductless mini-split AC unit for ventilation


Farmingville Elementary School

Install Split AC/Heat Pump 2-ton unit

Replace 11 roof-mounted exhaust fans

Installed ductless mini-split AC unit for ventilation


Ridgebury Elementary School

Replace the failed Rooftop Unit (RTU)

Replace 2 Trane RTUs

Replace heat only unit with heat pump option for heating and cooling

Add heat pump condenser for cooling to main gym air handler unit (AHU)


Scotland Elementary School

Install 2 Split AC/Heat Pump 2-ton units

Replace 2 exhaust hoods

Replace 16 roof-mounted exhaust fans

Installed ductless mini-split AC unit for ventilation