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Letter to the House on School Modernization Amendment

March 21, 2012

Dear Representative:

As a follow-up to our letter this morning on the budget proposal currently being marked up, we would like to add our support for an amendment to be offered by Representatives McCollum, Van Hollen, Pascrell, Ryan (OH), Castor, and Bonamici that would provide $30 billion to modernize 35,000 schools and community colleges. Actions in committee on this issue may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 112th Congress.

Our children deserve manageable class-sizes and modernized and energy-efficient school buildings. Yet, on average, our public schools are more than 40 years old and need an estimated $500 billion in repairs and upgrades. It is shameful that today’s students must go to school in yesterday’s school buildings, with out of date technology and often unsafe, crumbling infrastructure.

This amendment would make sure that our students have the learning environments they need and deserve. In addition, it will help create good jobs to put Americans back to work. Construction and building repair generally create 9,000-10,000 jobs per billion dollars spent. Eliminating just half the backlog in needed repairs and improvements would, over a period of years, create more than two million much-needed jobs.

The amendment would also provide funds to modernize community college facilities. Community college enrollments continue to rise as workers seek to enhance their skills in order to find employment in this tough economy or advance in their careers. Modernization of facilities is critical to accommodate these record numbers of students.

We urge your support for this amendment.

Sincerely,

Kim Anderson
Director, Center for Advocacy

Mary Kusler
Director of Government Relations