Sen. Sherrod Brown is pitching a bill to achieve Obama’s school repair goal


Sen. Sherrod Brown is pitching a bill to achieve Obama’s school repair goal

Plain Dealer – The president can request it, but it’ll take Congress to approve the pieces of the new $447 billion stimulus package. So Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, today will introduce a Senate bill to provide money to upgrade schools nationwide.

Brown’s “Fix America’s Schools Today Act” would provide money for roofs, boilers, science and technology lab upgrades, wiring or other capital projects that local districts have delayed because of money woes. Rep. Rosa DeLaura, a Connecticut Democrat, will introduce a companion bill in the House.

Brown says the average school building is 40 years old, and the backlog of maintenance projects exceeds $270 billion.

President Barack Obama wants the federal government to provide $25 billion for repairs or modernization of public and charter schools, and $5 billion for community colleges. This total would include $985 million for school projects in Ohio, creating up to 12,800 jobs, according to Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

Brown’s legislation would take care of just this piece of Obama’s jobs package, though Brown supports the other parts of the latest stimulus proposal. They include tax incentives for hiring, a temporary reduction in workers’ payroll taxes, money for cities and school districts to pay firefighters, police officers and teachers, and an extension of unemployment benefits. The White House said Tuesday that it will fight for all the pieces rather than accept what it can get piecemeal.

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