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Letter to the House Education and Labor Committee Supporting the 21st Century High-Performing Public School Facilities Act

May 04, 2009

Dear Representative:


On behalf of the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association (NEA) we urge your support for the 21st Century High-Performing Public School Facilities Act (H.R. 2187) scheduled for mark-up in the Committee on Education and Labor this week.  Actions in committee on this issue may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 111th Congress. 

This important legislation would provide $6.4 billion in federal grants to help states and local school districts repair and modernize public schools from coast to coast – essential to helping America’s students succeed in the global economy of the 21st century.  Compliance with the U.S. Green Building Council’s standards for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) would be encouraged.  Decision-making would remain at the local level.

Equally important, the legislation would provide an economic stimulus that helps create more than 100,000 new jobs for people who design and build schools – everyone from roofing contractors and construction workers to architects and engineers.

The average American school was built half a century ago.  As a result, too many of our children attend overcrowded schools housed in buildings with leaky roofs, faulty electrical systems, and outdated technology.  Communities cannot build schools fast enough to accommodate growing student populations.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided a critical first-step toward meeting these needs by authorizing tax credits on school construction bonds.  However, much more assistance is needed to ensure all students safe, modern, well-equipped, and environmentally friendly school facilities. 

H.R. 2187 will help states and local school districts stretch their limited resources, continue essential education programs, equip America’s students to succeed in the 21st century, encourage schools to become more environmentally friendly and energy efficient, and help create more than 100,000 new jobs in construction-related services.  We urge your support of this important legislation.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust
Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody
Manager of Federal Advocacy