The House on Thursday passed a multiyear school construction bill with the ambitious goals of producing hundreds of thousands of jobs, reducing energy consumption and creating healthier, cleaner environments for the nation’s schoolchildren, reports the Associated Press.
Opponents, almost all Republicans, objected to the cost associated with the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act. The cost would be $6.4 billion in the first year with similar outlays approved over the next five years. It passed 275-155, and now goes to the Senate, which did not act after the House passed similar legislation last year.
The situation has changed this year. While then-President George W. Bush threatened to veto the measure, objecting to a costly new school construction program, President Barack Obama made school improvement projects an element of his economic stimulus initiative. The bill would provide states with money to make grants and low interest loans so school districts could build, modernize and repair facilities to make them healthier, safer and more energy-efficient. The funds would be allotted under a formula based on a district’s share of students from low-income families, but the bill guarantees that every district that receives federal money for low-income students will get at least $5,000…
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