Coalition Launches to Support Federal Investment in Public School Facilities
- By Jerry Enderle
- January 29th, 2018
Washington, D.C. – The [Re]Build America’s School Infrastructure Coalition (BASIC), Is a broad-based coalition formed by a group of nonpartisan organizations to support fair federal funding of public school facilities as part of comprehensive infrastructure legislation. Its creation was formally announced today in Washington, D.C.
The coalition is pushing for $100 billion of federal investment over the next 10 years to help modernize the nation’s aging public school facilities. In the meantime, on The Hill, 150 House members support a bill introduced by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), and 25 Senators have expressed support for a similar bill from Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI). Both bills would provide $100 billion in federal grants and school construction bonds and would create an estimated 1.8 million construction jobs nationwide.
President Trump is expected to address the issue during his State of the Union address on Jan. 30.
During his 2016 election campaign, he repeatedly called for the inclusion of schools in any infrastructure bill.
Mary Filardo, executive director of the 21st Century School Fund, which helped organize the BASIC coalition says, “We're encouraged that there is bipartisan support for adequate and equitable federal funding for public school facilities. It’s time. We need to make these investments in our future strength and prosperity while our economy is strong. Surely, the places our children learn in are as important as the roads we drive on.”
Richard Riley, a former U.S. Secretary of Education and long-time champion of seeing schools as centers of community says, “Over 90 percent of this nation’s children go to America’s public schools. This is a big fact that members of Congress would do well to remember. These facilities are essential public infrastructure used every day by over 55 million Americans during the school year. If the White House and congressional Republicans want a legislative victory, they would be smart to put forward a bipartisan infrastructure bill that includes public schools.”
Charter members of the coalition’s leadership team include:
- The 21st Century School Fund engages in research, advocacy, innovation, and facilitation of civic and public sector networks to build constituencies for modern and equitable public school buildings and grounds.
- The Center for Cities + Schools provides research on school infrastructure policy and practice to ensure high quality learning environments for all children in schools that are sustainable centers of communities.
- The Center for Green Schools @ USGBC works with school decision makers, community volunteers, and thought leaders in the public and private sectors to advance sustainability at the intersection of education, public health, and the built environment.
- The National Council on School Facilities supports state level public PK-12 facilities officials in their varied roles and responsibilities for the delivery of safe, healthy, and educationally appropriate public school facilities that are sustainable and fiscally sound.
- International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC) works to improve the quality of life – on and off the job – of its members through access to fair wages, good benefits, safe working conditions, and solidarity among members. BAC is the oldest continuous union in North America.
- Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and multi-industrial firm developing smart cities through integrated infrastructure, intelligent buildings, efficient energy solutions, and new age transportation systems.
For additional background and details about the coalition, visit www.buildusschools.org/.