A Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) is any bond issued by a state or local government within the jurisdiction of the academy for the purpose of rehabilitating or repairing the public school facility, providing equipment, developing course materials, or training teachers and other school personnel.
The federal government is allocating $1.4 billion in 2009 and another $1.4 billion in 2010 for such bonds.
By definition, "academies" are established by local educational agencies and must meet the following three requirements to be eligible for the QZABs:
- The academy must be a public school that is located in an Empowerment Zone, located in an Enterprise Community or offering 35 percent of its students a free or reduced-price lunch under the National School Lunch Act;
- The academy must have an education program designed in cooperation with business and receive a private business contribution that is not less than 10 percent of the net present value of the proceeds of the bond;
- The academy must have an education plan that is approved by their school districts and subjects students to the same standards/assessments as other students in the district.
To meet the private business contribution requirement, the eligible local education agency that established the qualified zone academy must have written commitments from private entities to make qualified contributions having a present value of not less than 10 percent of the proceeds of the issue. A “qualified contribution” is any of the following:
- Equipment for use at the academy (including state-of-the-art technology and vocational equipment);
- Technical assistance in developing curriculum or training teachers to promote appropriate, market-driven technology in the classroom;
- Employees’ services as volunteer mentors;
- Internships, field trips or other educational opportunities outside the academy;
- Other property or service specified by the eligible education agency.
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