This afternoon, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) strongly urged congressional leaders to prioritize an investment of at least $130 billion in school facilities as they engage in negotiations on a national infrastructure package.
Noting that the nation’s districts educate more than 50 million schoolchildren and are the largest employer in the United States, NSBA interim Executive Director and CEO Chip Slaven asked Congress to make a strong investment in school facilities to accommodate new school construction, science and technology laboratories, career and technical education facilities, and further repairs and upgrades to building systems, such as HVAC and water systems.
“By making our students and future generations the priority for the infrastructure package, a much-needed investment to help sustain and improve our schools and communities can be achieved,” Slaven wrote in a letter to congressional leaders.
Slaven called current efforts to mitigate the proliferation of COVID-19 through repairs and upgrades to ventilation systems “one step” towards ensuring the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff throughout the county. However, he noted that this mitigation process is “not a comprehensive solution” to meet the increasing demands that school facilities must address.
“Throughout the country—and especially in rural communities—our facilities are the major service provider for K-12 education, early childhood education, adult education, job training programs, community meetings, storm shelters, voting precincts, vaccination sites, and more,” Slaven wrote. “Hence, a significant federal investment in our country’s school infrastructure is an invaluable asset to the prosperity of our communities for generations to come.”
The letter asks for a targeted federal investment in school facilities of at least $130 billion through direct grants and municipal bond authority that will help school districts and their communities address multiple capital improvement needs that have been deferred because of the lack of resources. It also urges congressional leaders to include provisions from three major bipartisan bills in the final infrastructure package: the Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act, the Investing in Our Communities Act, and the LOCAL Infrastructure Act.
The complete letter is available at