There are two bills moving through Congress that, if passed, would provide funding for school renovation and repair. Rep. Charles Rrangel (NY) and Sen. John D. Rockefeller (WV) have introduced H.R. 2394 and S. 796, respectively. These two bills, also known as the Rebuilding America’s Schools Act, would extend funding for the qualified school construction bond program and the national limitation amounts for bonds issued under the qualified zone academy bond (QZAB) program through 2015. The amount of funding proposed in these bills is $1.4 billion. If the bills are not passed, funding will expire on December 31 of this year.
These competitive programs provide schools districts with noninterest-bearing bonds that can be used for school renovations and repairs as well as other improvements. The school district must pay the principal back within 15 years. A 10 percent match is required from a business or nonprofit partner which can be in cash or in-kind donations. The match partner works with the school district to set up a QZAB Academy that “prepares students for college or workforce.”
Schools are eligible for funds if 35 percent or more of students are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals or if the school is located in an enterprise community or empowerment zone. The funds provide an opportunity for CTE schools that meet this criteria to update and renovate buildings as well as invest in equipment and up-to-date technology.
To voice your support for these bills, contact the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to speak to the majority staff on the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Ways and Means Committee.
Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager