Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Rosa DeLauro Announce Bill to Create Jobs Through Renovation of Schools

Fix America’s Schools Today (FAST) Act Would Create Construction Jobs and Modernize America’s Public Schools

Brown, DeLauro Bill Included in President’s American Jobs Act

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following President Obama’s visit to a central Ohio school, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) announced new legislation that would create jobs through the modernization and repair of schools around the country. The average U.S. public school building is 40 years old and conservative estimates of deferred school maintenance and repair nationwide total at least $270 billion.

 

“The FAST Act is about putting Ohioans to work by ensuring that our children learn in a safe, productive environment. Too many school districts – that have already been forced to cut budgets and lay off teachers – cannot afford physical improvements to schools. Meanwhile, an increasing share of their budgets – and Ohioans’ property taxes – is devoted to heating drafty schools,” Sen. Brown said. “The FAST Act would help states and local school districts make critical repairs to existing facilities or supplement their current maintenance efforts. This bill is about jobs – but it’s also about our education and our nation’s future.”

“The FAST Act will create good, well-paying jobs now, strengthening our economy while providing our school districts with the resources they need to make needed improvements to their school facilities. With the national unemployment rate above 9 percent, and the construction industry at a staggering 18 percent, this kind of investment is critical to getting our economy right. And there is no more important investment than in our children’s education—the FAST Act will help schoolchildren in Connecticut and across the nation by providing a better place to learn, boosting teacher and student morale and performance,” Rep. DeLauro said. “This bill is a win-win investment—creating jobs and bettering our nation’s education system.”

Brown and DeLauro outlined details of The Fix America’s Schools Today (FAST) Act, legislation that would create hundreds of thousands of jobs for construction workers and skilled laborers while generating new savings through energy conservation and efficiency improvements. The FAST Act would authorize $25 billion in funds for school renovation and modernization. Forty percent of the funds would be allocated to the 100 largest high-need school districts in the U.S. and the remaining 60 percent would be split among state departments of education to administer through competitive grants. An additional $5 billion would be made available to states for the same kind of modernization, renovation and repair at community colleges.

Specifically, the FAST Act would provide funds to school districts to:

  • improve air quality with updates to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems;
  • remove mold and reduce energy costs with roof replacement and repair;
  • support technology, mechanical systems, and electricity with an electrical system modernization;
  • reduce water consumption, eliminate lead in water, upgrade bathrooms and plumbing;
  • eliminate allergy and asthma triggers, contain or eliminate asbestos, and repair plaster and painting;
  • replace windows to save on energy usage;
  • install solar panels, wind generators, and geothermal or other clean energy generators.

It is estimated that for every $1 billion invested in school construction between 9,000 to 10,000 jobs are created. According to the Blue Green Alliance, modernizing our schools can save $100,000 a year in maintenance costs – enough for two new teachers, 200 more computers, and 5,000 textbooks.

The FAST Act has already been endorsed by the National PTA, Council for Great City Schools, Building and Construction Trades, AFL-CIO, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Ohio Education Association, National Construction Alliance II, United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America, International Union of Operating Engineers, Cleveland Building & Construction Trades Council, and the Columbus Education Association.

“America's Building Trades Unions applaud the introduction today by Senator Sherrod Brown and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of the ‘Fix America’s Schools Today Act of 2011.’ This legislation addresses two critical issues facing America today: the need for immediate investments in our nation's infrastructure that will put Americans back to work; and the need to upgrade our public education facilities to meet the requirements demanded by a 21st century education,” Building and Construction Trades Department President Mark H. Ayers said.

Ohio Impact

The FAST Act could create or save 12,800 Ohio jobs through the modernization, renovation, and repair of Ohio schools. Brown a released a county-by-county report on the 55 Ohio school districts that are in need of significant repairs and the more than 100 school districts with construction projects currently underway or recently completed. According to the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC), 103 school districts recently completed or are in the process of constructing or renovating school buildings. Another 55 school districts have construction needs – and were offered resources from OSFC– but were unable to meet the local match.

As outlined in the American Jobs Act, Ohio could receive up to $985,500,000 in funding for K-12 schools—to support as many as 12,800 jobs—and an additional $259,300,000 for Ohio Community Colleges. This includes direct awards to Ohio’s four largest school districts:

School District

Potential Funding

Cleveland Municipal School District

$129.6 million

Columbus City School District

$111.6 million

Cincinnati City School District

$61.1 million

Toledo City School District

$54.3 million

 

 

 

 

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