WASHINGTON - The White House released the following press release:
On September 13, President Obama submitted to Congress the American Jobs Act, a bill designed to jumpstart economic growth and job creation. On September 14, the President visited the Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School in Columbus, Ohio to highlight his proposal to put workers back on the job by rebuilding and modernizing schools across the country. This report details the benefits of this program for each state as well as the 100 largest high-need public school districts which will receive funds directly.
The President is proposing a $25 billion investment in school infrastructure that will modernize at least 35,000 public schools. This investment will create jobs, while improving classrooms and upgrading our schools to meet 21st century needs. It also includes a priority for rural schools and dedicated funding for Bureau of Indian Education-funded schools. Funds can be used for a range of emergency repair and renovation projects, greening and energy efficiency upgrades, asbestos abatement and removal, and modernization efforts to build new science and computer labs and to upgrade the technology infrastructure in our schools. The President is also proposing a $5 billion investment in modernizing community colleges (including tribal colleges), bolstering their infrastructure in this time of need while ensuring their ability to serve future generations of students and communities.
How the American Jobs Act Will Rebuild and Modernize America's Schools
The President is proposing that we invest $30 billion in enhancing the condition of our nation's public schools and community colleges. This money would fund a range of critical repairs and needed renovation projects that would put hundreds of thousands of Americans - construction workers, engineers, maintenance staff, boiler repair, and electrical workers - back to work. And it will help modernize at least 35,000 public schools - from science labs and internet-ready classroom upgrades to renovated facilities.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) awarded the United States a 'D' for the condition of its public school infrastructure. The average public school building in the United States is over 40 years old, and many are much older. Schools spend over $6 billion annually on their energy bills, more than they spend on computers and textbooks combined. Hands-on STEM education is critical for our children to be prepared for the jobs of the future, and yet 43 states reported that one-third or more of their schools do not meet all of the functional requirements necessary to effectively teach laboratory science.
The cost of maintaining nearly 100,000 public schools and facilities in good repair is substantial for already overstretched districts. The accumulated backlog of deferred maintenance and repair amounts to at least $270 billion. For children in the nation's poorest districts, these deferred projects too often mean schools with crumbling ceilings, overcrowded classrooms, and classrooms without basic wiring infrastructure for technology needed for students to master 21st century skills.
The President's plan calls for substantial investments in our school infrastructure, modernizing at least 35,000 of America's public schools to meet 21st-century needs and supporting repairs and upgrades in the nation's community colleges.
* $25 billion in funds will be used to upgrade existing public school facilities. 10 billion of the funds will be directed toward 100 largest high-need public school districts. 15 billion of the funds will be directed to the states. Funds cannot be used for new construction. The President's plan also proposes $5 billion of investments for facilities modernization needs at community colleges.