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Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB)

Overview

Through the federal Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) program, school districts with low-income populations can save on interest costs associated with financing school renovations. The federal government covers all of the interest in the form of a reimbursement of interest cost paid by the district or a tax credit, resulting in savings up to 50 percent of the cost of these renovation and improvement projects.

QZAB proceeds may be used to rehabilitate or repair school facilities, obtain equipment, develop curricula and/or train teachers and other school personnel. QZAB proceeds may not be used on new construction.

Qualifications

To qualify, there must be a reasonable expectation that at least 35 percent of the school's students or program participants will be eligible for free or reduced-cost lunches under the National School Lunch Act when the bonds are issued. The school district also must obtain commitments from private entities for "qualified contributions," such as equipment, technical assistance or volunteer services, with a present value of not less than 10 percent of the proceeds of the bond issue.

Application Process

Districts will be requested to complete an application and send letters of proposal to DPI. The application will require you to identify the projects by building, acknowledge that the 35 percent free and reduced-cost lunch requirement for such buildings will be met and acknowledge that the private participation requirement will be achieved. The letter of interest should also confirm the districts commitment to comply with the Davis Bacon prevailing wage requirements and explain the district's borrowing authority for this project.

We encourage you to work with local businesses, foundations and community organizations to create proposals that will qualify. Again, new construction is not an eligible QZAB use. The department will give priority consideration to eligible school districts that have passed a referendum or have a board approved resolution to issue non referendum debt. Districts that have not previously participated in the QZAB program will be given priority if there are multiple eligible applications for the authorization.

2015 and 2016 Allocation

Wisconsin has been allocated $5,879,000 of QZAB issuance authority for calendar year 2015 and $5,879,000 of QZAB issuance authority for calendar year 2016. Districts have returned $2,803,500 of this authorization that is now available to other districts. DPI has established the following timeline for awarding this returned authorization:

  • QZAB allocation announced: June 16, 2017
  • Applications due: July 14, 2017
  • Review of applications in July
  • Announcement of awards: Late July, 2017

Guidance

For questions about this information, contact Brian Kahl (608) 266-3862, dpifin@dpi.wi.gov (608) 267-9114