HOUSE BILL 232
55th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2021
Sheryl Williams Stapleton
RELATING TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS; ENACTING THE PUBLIC SCHOOL VENTILATION IMPROVEMENT ACT; CREATING A CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL VENTILATION SYSTEMS; CREATING A FUND; PROVIDING FOR APPLICATIONS FROM AND GRANTS TO SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND CHARTER SCHOOLS TO IMPROVE MECHANICAL VENTILATION SYSTEMS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS FOR THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF STUDENTS AND SCHOOL PERSONNEL DURING THE CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 PANDEMIC; DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] SHORT TITLE.--This act may be cited as the "Public School Ventilation Improvement Act"."
SECTION 2. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] DEFINITIONS.--As used in the Public School Ventilation Improvement Act:
A. "certified technician" means a person who is:
(1) certified by an industry-recognized organization to perform testing, adjusting and balancing of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; or
(2) certified through a certification body accredited by the American national standards institute to perform indoor air quality ventilation assessments of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems;
B. "fund" means the public school ventilation improvement fund;
C. "mechanical engineer" means a professional engineer licensed as a mechanical engineer by the state board of licensure for professional engineers and professional surveyors;
D. "mechanical ventilation system" means a building ventilation system provided by mechanically powered, permanent equipment such as motor-driven fans and blowers, and includes carbon dioxide monitoring; provided, however, "mechanical ventilation system" does not include devices such as wind-driven turbine ventilators, portable air filtration and cleaning devices or mechanically operated windows;
E. "qualified testing and adjusting personnel" means:
(1) a certified technician; or
(2) a skilled and trained construction workforce under the supervision of a certified technician;
F. "school district" includes charter schools;
G. "skilled and trained construction workforce" means a workforce in which at least seventy percent of the workers are graduates of a registered apprenticeship program in New Mexico for the applicable construction occupation; and
H. "ventilation program" means the public school ventilation improvement program."
SECTION 3. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] VENTILATION PROGRAM--CREATED--AWARDS.--
A. The "public school ventilation improvement program" is created in the department to award "ventilation program grants" to school districts for mechanical ventilation system improvement projects in public schools, including, if necessary, installation of carbon dioxide monitors on an otherwise adequate existing mechanical ventilation system. The department shall promulgate rules to carry out the provisions of the Public School Ventilation Improvement Act. Rules shall be promulgated no later than October 1, 2021.
B. A ventilation program grant may be used to assess, test and adjust a public school's mechanical ventilation system and, if necessary or cost-effective, to repair, upgrade or replace the existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning system or install a stand-alone mechanical ventilation system. Allowable expenses include ventilation assessments and reports, ventilation verification assessments and reports, general maintenance, reading and adjustment of ventilation rates, filter replacement to meet a minimum efficiency reporting value of at least thirteen, carbon dioxide monitor installation and whole-system installation or replacement. Portable filtration and air cleaners shall be considered for funding only if the existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning infrastructure cannot provide minimum filtration and ventilation requirements or, as recommended by a mechanical engineer, as a supplemental enhancement to the permanent heating ventilation and air conditioning infrastructure when the desired indoor air quality cannot be achieved with the mechanical ventilation system or there are concerns with outdoor air contaminants such as those created by wildfires and pollution. Subject to the amount of money in the fund, the department may award a grant to make a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system more energy efficient.
C. School districts may apply for a ventilation program grant to help defray the cost of mechanical ventilation system projects. Applications shall be on forms provided by the department and shall include all information required by the department. The department may request a school district to resubmit an application that does not include the information the department needs to evaluate the application.
D. Grant awards shall be based on a ventilation assessment that includes an assessment of necessary repairs, upgrades or replacement and an estimate of the cost of those improvements to make the mechanical ventilation system meet a minimum efficiency reporting value of at least thirteen.
E. When applying for a grant, a school district may rely on ventilation assessments done by or for the public school facilities authority when the school district applied for building system improvements or public school capital outlay funding or ventilation assessments done by or for the public school facilities authority or the department related to making public schools safe during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. If the school district has not had such ventilation assessments, the department shall reimburse the school district from the fund for the cost of ventilation assessments done for the ventilation program grant application.
F. Grants may be used to reimburse a school district for mechanical ventilation system capital improvements that were contracted and performed after August 1, 2020.
G. The department shall give priority to:
(1) school districts that do not have local resources to improve public school mechanical ventilation systems or to match a grant from the public school capital outlay council for building system repair, renovation or replacement;
(2) projects that are crucial to the reopening of a public school; and
(3) projects required for health and safety of students and school personnel before grants for projects to improve systems for cost savings.
H. In accepting a grant pursuant to this section, the grantee warrants that construction work on the mechanical ventilation system, whether paid in full or in part by the grant, shall be performed by a skilled and trained workforce.
I. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance of a grant award to a school district remaining at the end of the project shall revert to the fund."
SECTION 4. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] PUBLIC SCHOOL VENTILATION IMPROVEMENT FUND--CREATED--USES.--
A. The "public school ventilation improvement fund" is created as a nonreverting fund in the state treasury. The fund consists of federal grants, state appropriations, gifts, grants and donations. The fund shall be administered by the department, and money in the fund is appropriated to the department to provide grants to school districts as provided in the Public School Ventilation Improvement Act and rules promulgated in accordance with that act. Expenditures from the fund shall be by warrant of the secretary of finance and administration pursuant to vouchers signed by the secretary of public education or the secretary's authorized representative.
B. The department may expend up to five percent of the fund each year to administer the ventilation program, including providing technical assistance and support to grantees. The cost of ventilation assessments for grant applications shall be paid from the five percent set-aside; the cost of ventilation verification assessments shall be paid from a school district's grant award."
SECTION 5. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] ASSESSMENTS.--
A. The ventilation assessment required to apply for a grant shall be performed by a certified technician or a mechanical engineer. If an assessment is performed by a certified technician, the assessment report shall be reviewed by a mechanical engineer. The ventilation assessment shall verify whether the existing mechanical ventilation system is operating in accordance with design parameters, meets the requirements of the New Mexico Mechanical Code and follows the recommendations of the American society of heating, refrigerating and air conditioning engineers for ventilation needs during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. The assessment report shall include appropriate corrective actions needed for the mechanical ventilation system or the heating, ventilation and air conditioning infrastructure, including carbon dioxide monitoring, additional maintenance, repairs, upgrades or replacement.
B. Upon completion of work funded by a grant pursuant to this section, the school district shall submit a ventilation verification report to the department. The report shall include:
(1) the name and address of the public school and the person preparing and certifying the report;
(2) the name and address of the certified technicians, mechanical engineers, contractors and skilled and trained construction workforce who performed assessments or construction and copies of certifications and licenses;
(3) a copy of the procurement documents; and
(4) documentation of:
(a) initial operating ventilation rate verifications;
(b) adjustments, repairs, upgrades or replacements;
(c) final operating conditions, including the minimum efficiency reporting value of the filtration system and verified ventilation and exhaust rates for classrooms, auditoriums, gymnasiums, restrooms, offices and other occupied spaces;
(d) verification of carbon dioxide monitors, including make and model of the monitors; and
(e) verification that all work has been tested and adjusted by qualified testing and adjusting personnel and that all repairs, upgrades or replacements were performed by a contractor using a skilled and trained workforce.
C. The ventilation assessment and the ventilation verification reports are public documents and shall be available to the public upon request."
SECTION 6. EFFECTIVE DATE.--The effective date of the provisions of this act is July 1, 2021.
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