Resolved to improve the unacceptable building conditions of too many of our nation’s schools and community colleges, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) have introduced the Fix America’s Schools Today (FAST) Act (S. 1597/H.R. 2948).
The bill would direct $30 billion in grants—paid for by taxes on those earning over $1 million annually—to implement school facility repair and modernization by the summer of 2012.
NASSP supports this legislation and signed on to a coalition letter along with 172 other wide-ranging organizations to express our support. As stated in the letter, the bill will “invest resources to repair, renovate and modernize America’s schools and community colleges while stimulating and creating some 300,000 jobs.” Given the nation’s persistently high unemployment rate and that the average public school building is 40 years old (according to a U.S. Department of Education blog) this legislation is timely and important.
The Senate bill currently has 13 cosponsors while the House bill claims 108. Despite resistance to the bill from members of Congress who oppose the offset tax, Sen. Brown and Rep. DeLauro continue to push hard for the bill’s passage. A website has been created to endorse the legislation, and the two bill sponsors hosted a Hill briefing on November 30 to further promote the bill. Sen. Brown has been trying to get a vote on the bill on the Senate floor, and it appears that a vote is likely to occur soon after the Congressional holiday recess.
NASSP encourages you to contact your legislators to urge their support of this important legislation, particularly if you are in a school that sorely needs repair and/or modernization and would benefit from this bill. Go to www.house.gov or www.senate.gov to find your legislators’ contact information and thank you for contributing your critical voice!