Rep. Huffman Introduces Bill to Modernize America’s Schools
Washington, D.C.- In honor of Public Schools Week, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) today introduced the Investing for Tomorrow’s Schools Act of 2018 to help repair and improve America’s school buildings and public libraries, upgrade broadband infrastructure, and cut energy and maintenance costs.
This legislation provides schools and public libraries a new funding stream to pay for construction and repair of their facilities, including the repair of leaking roofs, crumbling walls, poor ventilation, asbestos removal, energy efficiency improvements, and reducing fossil fuel use.
“Our students deserve to be given all the keys to success, and that starts with a safe and healthy learning environment,” said Rep. Huffman. “Removing asbestos, fixing leaking roofs and crumbling walls, improving energy efficiency, and reducing dangerous fossil fuel use must be top priorities for our schools, not where we cut corners. The Investing for Tomorrow’s Schools Act will give school districts and public libraries the tools to address these priorities and maintain high-performing facilities that reduce energy use and help equip our children for the future.”
“The Investing for Tomorrow’s Schools Act of 2018 will enable schools to address deferred maintenance issues that are too often put off due to budget challenges,” said Mary Jane Burke, Marin County Superintendent of Schools. “Our students and staff deserve to learn 21st century skills in buildings that are reflective of 21st century infrastructure, energy and safety standards. Ultimately, this investment will allow our students to attend schools that are healthier, more cost effective and environmentally friendly, bottom line this represents an investment in our most precious resource our students!”
“After optimizing all of our local resources and our State resources, we still cannot meet the needs of upgrading our school buildings from the 1950s,” said Jon Ray, Superintendent, Klamath- Trinity Joint Unified School District. “Unfortunately we are in a situation where we must choose between providing teachers and counselors or safe and healthy classrooms. With this legislation, we would be able to propel our District forward with 21st Century classrooms that are green, sustainable and provide students with the teachers and counselors they deserve.”
“Students at every age and grade level learn better in schools that are safe, healthy and environmentally sound,” said Anisa Heming, director of The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council. “The Investing for Tomorrow’s Schools Act provides a roadmap and a critical funding stream for the improvement of these essential spaces. With one out of every six Americans setting foot in a school building each day, it is imperative that we make every effort to maintain and upgrade our schools to ensure that every student has the best possible chance to succeed.”
According to the U.S. Green Building Council and its partners, the United States faces a projected annual shortfall of $46 billion in funding necessary to build, maintain and operate the nation’s school buildings. With 100,000 K-12 school buildings representing approximately 7.5 billion gross square feet of space, America’s public schools require $145 billion annually to meet the needs of the growing student population and remain in working order.
Huffman’s bill requires borrowers to use green construction or renovation practices that are consistent with: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating standards, the Living Building Challenge, the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS), or a state equivalent that has the same or higher standards.
Huffman’s bill is supported by: the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), American Federation of Teachers, Rebuild America’s Schools, and Californians for School Facilities.
Rep. Huffman also introduced Investing for Tomorrow’s Schools Act in the 113th and 114th Congress.