Washington, DC (May 14, 2009)- The 21st Century Green High-Performing Public Schools Facilities Act, H.R. 2187 passed the House today with two key amendments offered by Rep. Allyson Schwartz. This innovative legislation, as amended, makes targeted investments to modernize, upgrade, and repair school facilities across the country. According to projections by the Economic Policy Institute, construction funding in this bill will support as many as 136,000 new construction jobs, many in green work, providing workers valuable new skills. This bill is the reintroduction of the similar bill, H.R.3021, that passed the House last year. The Senate is now required to take action.
July 12, 2007- Introduced by Rep. Chandler (D-KY)
May 15, 2008- Referred to House Education and Labor Committee.
June 4, 2008- Passed House 250-164 (waiting on action from Senate)
April 30, 2009- Re-introduced to House by Rep. Chandler (D-KY)
April 30, 2009- Referred to House Education and Labor Committee
May 6, 2009- Reported out by Committee with Amendments
May 14, 2009- Passed House
This bill makes available competitive grants and low-cost loans to schools that meet green building design. Thanks to Rep. Schwartz’s efforts, “green design” goes beyond just LEED, Energy Star, CHPS, and Green Globes. Now trees and real green infrastructure are included. For ACT members, this legislation creates new opportunities to apply for grants to undertake school plantings and tree maintenance.
“In improving the energy-efficiency, health, and safety of America’s public schools, we not only strengthen learning environments for our children we create jobs and preserve our planet,” said U.S. Rep. Schwartz. “From America’s schools to America’s workforce, we have a responsibility to grow the 21st century economy by thinking green,” said Schwartz. “The plans I offered allow our schools flexibility in their greening efforts, and ensure that we take steps to develop a well-trained green labor force.”
A long-standing environmental advocate, Schwartz put forth two additional initiatives as part of this bill to help strengthen its aims. Both of Schwartz’s efforts, encouraging Job Corps participants and community college students to gain practical work experience in the field of green building and green construction, and offering additional flexibility for schools to think creatively about greening efforts, passed the House.
H.Amdt. 130- Green Jobs Amendment
To meet the needs of the growing American green economy, there is tremendous demand for a qualified and skilled green workforce. As such, Schwartz and U.S. Rep. Maffei (NY-25) offered an amendment encouraging Job Corps participants and community college students enrolled in degree or certificate programs relating to green building to be involved in the modernization, renovation, and repair projects funded by the bill. This will allow these students to gain valuable employment experience, and will help to build our nation’s green workforce. Job Corps, a Department of Labor initiative, is a residential education and job-training program for at-risk youth 16-24 years old.
H.Amdt. 134- Green Schools Amendment
The second initiative offered by Schwartz and U.S. Rep. Lujan (NM-03) allows schools additional flexibility in being able to put forth innovative solutions that can help lower energy costs and provide classroom enrichment. The Lujan/Schwartz amendment accomplishes this by adding, “greenhouses, gardens (including trees), and other facilities for environmental, scientific or other educational purposes or to produce energy cost savings,” to the list of allowable fund uses in a section of the bill. Adding these types of activities, such as targeted tree planting, reduces building energy costs, which will help school districts save money and reinvest in their classrooms.
H.Amdt. 128 by Rep. Giffords (D-AZ)
Amendment specifies that local educational agencies receiving funds under the act may encourage schools receiving funds for projects to educate students about those projects, including how they function, and their environmental, energy, sustainability, and other benefits.
21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act (H.R. 2187)
21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act (H.R. 3021)