Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) introduced the Renew America’s Schools Act, legislation to provide crucial support to America’s schools to make critical infrastructure upgrades that improve energy efficiency and reduce costs.
“There is no greater investment we can make than providing more funding to our schools in Nevada, and throughout the country,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Nevada is a leader in the use of energy efficient technologies and with this legislation we can bring that innovation into our schools nationally, reduce costs for our school districts and improve the health of our communities by using more zero-emission school buses to safely transport our kids.”
“The condition of the buildings where our students learn, and educators teach have an immense impact on the quality of education our children receive. Unfortunately, many of our nation’s school buildings are in a state of disrepair,” said Rep. Loebsack. “The Renew America’s Schools Act is a win for workers, students and parents. It creates jobs in our local communities, produces long-term savings for schools due to increased energy-efficiency, all while providing our students with top-notch schools they can be proud to attend.”
Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) are original co-sponsors of this legislation.
There is currently a $46 billion annual shortfall in funding for public school infrastructure. In schools throughout the country, buildings often lack proper heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems. Energy costs for K-12 schools total approximately $8 billion annually nationwide but according to the Environmental Protection Agency, $2 billion of those dollars can be saved by improving energy efficiency. This cost is equivalent to about 40 million new textbooks or hiring an additional 50,000 teachers at current salaries.
The Renew America’s Schools Act creates a federal grant program through the Department of Energy that would provide $100 million yearly for five years to provide funding to K-12 schools to make eligible energy efficiency improvements. Those eligible energy efficiency improvements include:
- Facility improvements for air quality, daylighting, ventilation, and lighting upgrades;
- The installation of renewable energy technologies to power school systems;
- The purchase of zero-emissions vehicles and the installation of necessary infrastructure for those vehicles.
Full text of the bill is available here.