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House Passes School Overhaul Bill; Authorizes Federal Investment in School Construction

October 5, 2009
On September 17, 2009, the House passed H.R. 3221, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009, which authorizes more than $4 billion for elementary and secondary school facility projects over the next two fiscal years, and ensures that school districts will receive funds for school modernization, renovation and repairs that create healthier, safer and more energy-efficient teaching and learning climates. The bill allocates the same percentage of funds to school districts that they receive under Part A of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, except that it guarantees each such district a minimum of $5,000. The bill also provides grants to states to help community colleges finance new construction, modernization, renovation and repair projects. While AGC supports the overall bill, it includes the same Buy American language as was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Recovery Act). AGC has long-advocated for additional investment in school construction, as there is substantial opportunity for investment in upgrading and improving the unmet need for school construction and renovation, which is estimated to be $3.7 billion. The average age of a public school building is estimated to be over 40 years old, the same age that schools have been documented to deteriorate. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. AGC will urge Senators to support the bill without the onerous Buy American restrictions. For more information, contact Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or youngj@agc.org.
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