Federal tax credit bond applications are open

The Maine Department of Education will accept applications for the Federal Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) Program through March 16, 2012.   The Department currently has $6,946,000 of QZAB issuing authority to distribute to qualifying schools units.

A Qualified Zone Academy is any public school — or academic program within a public school — designed in cooperation with business to enhance curriculum, increase graduation and employment rates, and better prepare students for college and the workforce.  In order to be eligible, schools must have at least a 35 percent free or reduced lunch rate or be located in an empowerment zone or enterprise community.

QZAB funds can be used for rehabilitation or repair of a facility, equipment purchases, developing course materials, and training teachers and other personnel. A school district issuing a QZAB is required to obtain a 10 percent matching grant from a private entity.  The QZAB program is a tax credit bond program and not a grant program.  School units who receive QZAB allocations must issue their bonds by Dec. 31, 2012.

Applications and additional information are available on the Department’s website at:  http://www.maine.gov/education/const/ffp/home.htm.  If you have questions about the QZAB programs, please contact Ann Pinnette at 207-624-6885 or ann.pinnette@maine.gov.