Brown Calls for Action on Legislation to Update Schools, Create Jobs

Bill Would Apply “Buy America” to School Construction Projects, Create 1.9 Million Jobs Nationally

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Columbus City Schools Superintendent Dr. Dan Good on a news conference call to urge Congress to take action on legislation to update Ohio schools and create jobs for Ohio workers. Brown’s bill, the School Building Improvement Act of 2017, would provide direct grants and school construction bonds to update schools and create an estimated 1.9 million jobs nationally. School repair, renovation, and construction would be completed with American-made products.

“Students can’t learn in schools that are crumbling around them,” said Brown. “If we want to prepare students for 21st century jobs, we need to invest in 21st century classrooms. That investment will also support good jobs, putting Ohioans to work rebuilding schools with American-made materials.”  

The School Building Improvement Act:

  • Provides competitive grants for school repair, renovation, and construction. These grants focus assistance on states and 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 Qualified School Infrastructure Bonds (QSIBs).
  • Requires the use of American-made iron, steel, and manufactured products.

Brown was joined on the call by Dr. Dan Good, Superintendent of Columbus City Schools. This week, Columbus City Schools have been forced to close early due to excessive heat and a lack of air conditioning in many of the school system’s older buildings.

“Our nearly 52,000 students here in Columbus City Schools deserve 21st century learning spaces,” said Dr. Dan Good, Superintendent/CEO. “We welcome Senator Brown’s proposed investment in public schools, putting $100 billion where it is needed and where it can have the greatest return - creating safe and welcoming learning environments for Columbus’ young people, conducive to their positive learning and growth.”

The legislation would also require the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to provide a report on projects funded by the legislation within two years of enactment and creates a comprehensive study of the state of public schools’ physical condition at least once every five years.

Brown’s bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), has been endorsed by Rebuild America’s Schools, American Federation of Teachers, Californians for School Facilities, Council of the Great City Schools, International Union of Operating Engineers, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of Federally Impacted Schools, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Education Association, National Parent Teacher Association, and North America’s Building Trades Unions.

In January, Brown joined his Senate colleagues in releasing a framework for rebuilding and repairing the nation’s infrastructure while creating millions of construction jobs. As part of the plan, Brown included Buy America language to ensure American infrastructure is built by American workers, using American iron and steel.

The proposal outlines how a $1 trillion package of infrastructure investment delivered over the next decade would improve the nation’s transportation, water, housing, broadband, and community infrastructure while creating thousands of construction and manufacturing jobs in Ohio. 

Brown has also introduced legislation, supported by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), that would apply Buy America rules to all federally-funded infrastructure projects. Brown is urging the President to take steps to implement his bill as part of the President’s executive order announced earlier this year.

###