Federal Funding Could Help Address School Infrastructure Needs in New Hampshire
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined their colleagues in reintroducing legislation to provide $130 billion in federal funds to help schools in New Hampshire and across the country improve their aging infrastructure and modernize classrooms to increase student and teacher safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The reintroduction of the Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act comes as Manchester faces millions of dollars in deferred maintenance and infrastructure costs for its schools.
“I worked across the aisle to provide additional funding to schools in the last COVID-19 relief package, but we know that the needs of our teachers and school administrators outpace the funding that Congress provided,” Senator Hassan said. “This legislation would help schools in New Hampshire upgrade their classrooms with safety measures, such as fresh air ventilation, that will help keep students and teachers safe as schools continue to reopen for in-person learning. Particularly as reports show that some New Hampshire schools have racked up enormous costs for infrastructure repairs, this legislation would provide urgently needed dollars to help schools address this challenge and improve the structural safety of their classrooms. I will continue fighting to secure additional resources to strengthen school infrastructure and help bring students safely back into the classroom.”
“Investing in public education was a critical priority before the pandemic hit, but the challenges exacerbated by COVID further underscore how important it is that Congress take action to put our students, teachers and schools first,” Senator Shaheen said. “This bill will provide funding for necessary infrastructure projects that prioritize the safety of kids and faculty, like repairs and upgrades to air ventilation and water systems. It also addresses the digital barrier that impacts many New Hampshire communities by expanding access to high-speed broadband. This legislation is urgently needed to get our kids back in school safely – I urge members on both sides of the aisle to join in this effort.”
The Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act will provide $100 billion in formula funds to states for local competitive grants for school repair, renovation, and construction. States will focus assistance on communities with the greatest financial need, encourage green construction practices, and expand access to high-speed broadband to ensure that all students have access to digital learning. The bill would also provide $30 billion for qualified school infrastructure bonds, $10 billion each year from fiscal years 2022 through 2024, and restore the Qualified Zone Academy Bonds that were eliminated in the Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Senators Hassan and Shaheen are working to support schools in New Hampshire amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The bipartisan government funding and COVID-19 relief package that the Senators helped to negotiate and was signed into law included substantial education funding for states, including $259 million to New Hampshire. The Senators also successfully pushed the Biden administration to direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency to reimburse COVID-related costs for schools, such as personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies, through FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund. Additionally, Senator Hassan joined Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) in successfully halting a change to the methodology that determines which rural schools are eligible for funding through the Rural Low-Income Schools program, which includes school districts in New Hampshire.