August 04, 2017

Senator Hassan Joins Colleagues in Introducing Bill to Lay Foundation for School Construction & Modernization

School Building Improvement Act would provide $100 billion for school repair, renovation, and construction

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined eight of her colleagues in introducing new legislation to help rebuild and modernize schools in New Hampshire and throughout the nation. 

The School Building Improvement Act of 2017 (S.1674) would provide $100 billion in federal grants and school construction bonds over the next decade to help build and renovate schools.  The bill would provide resources to help states like New Hampshire upgrade education infrastructure and meet their most pressing school building construction needs, while creating an estimated 1.9 million jobs nationally.

“Ensuring that our young people are equipped with the skills and critical thinking needed for success in the 21st century innovation economy begins with providing our students with a safe, modern space to learn, grow, and thrive,” Senator Hassan said. “The School Building Improvement Act is critical to those efforts, providing resources to help the Granite State upgrade, repair, and construct our school infrastructure and ensure that all of our students are better prepared for future success.”

Safe, healthy, modern, well-equipped schools are essential for advancing student achievement and ensuring that the next generation is prepared to meet the economic, social, and global challenges.  Currently, however, far too many of the more than 50 million students and six million staff who learn and work in U.S. public schools spend their days in facilities that fail to make the grade. A 2014 Department of Education Study estimated that it would cost $197 billion to bring all public schools into “good” condition.  Nationally, there is also a $38 billion funding gap in annual capital construction and new facility funding, as reported in the 2016 State of Our Schools Report.  Despite the benefits and need, federal funding currently accounts for just 0.2% of the total current capital investment in our nation’s schools. The School Building Improvement Act would fill this gap by providing a total of $100 billion over ten years in direct grants and school construction bonds.

SUMMARY: The School Building Improvement Act:

  • Provides formula funds to states for local competitive grants for school repair, renovation, and construction.  These grants focus assistance on communities with the greatest financial need, encourage green construction practices, establish equitable access for public charter schools, contain state matching criteria, and outline permissible criteria for spending. 
  • Provides $30 billion for Qualified School Infrastructure Bonds (QSIBs), $10 billion each for FY 2018 through FY 2020.
  • Invests in American jobs by requiring the use of American-made iron, steel, and manufactured products.
  • Expands Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZABs) for use on school construction.
  • Requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to report on projects carried out within two years after enactment with periodic updates.
  • Creates a comprehensive study of the physical condition of public schools at least once every five years.
  • Provides a temporary increase of $100 million for Impact Aid construction.

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