MN PTA President Heather Starks, Vice-President Amy Nelson and Advocacy Commissioner Cathy Nathan attended the National PTA Legislative Convention in Washington DC March 10-12. On March 11, they visited offices of Minnesota’s Senators and Representatives to lobby on behalf of legislation that supports our member students, parents, teachers and schools. This post gives information about one of our Hill Asks this year: Include schools in any comprehensive infrastructure package.
A growing body of research shows that high-quality facilities help improve academic achievement, reduce student and staff absences, and reduce suspensions. Despite the positive effects of adequate facilities, far too many children and adults continue to attend and work in schools that are unsafe and unhealthy.
• Congress must include provisions of the Rebuild America’s Schools Act (H.R.865/S.266) in any infrastructure package considered. H.R 865/S.266 would create a $70 billion grant program and $30 billion tax credit bond program prioritizing Title I schools with facilities that pose health and safety risks to students and staff. The bill would also create over 1.9 million jobs by addressing critical physical and digital infrastructure needs in schools.
• The average public school is nearly 50 years old. Even if local districts find innovative and creative ways to finance infrastructure projects, some districts will inevitably be left behind. Similar to the federal role in upgrading roads and bridges, there is a federal role to help eliminate the extreme inequities that currently exist in school facilities.
• Congress must ensure that public schools are included in any infrastructure package considered this year. Schools are a critical part of our nation’s infrastructure and it is essential that investments are made to repair, renovate and modernize school facilities to ensure they are safe, healthy and well equipped to advance student achievement, help grow our economy and improve our competitiveness as a nation.