Senator Baldwin Joins Colleagues to Reintroduce Impact Aid Bill to Fund School Infrastructure Projects
Bill provides $1 billion for Impact Aid Construction Grants, follows critical school investments made in the American Rescue Plan
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin has joined her Senate colleagues to introduce the Impact Aid Infrastructure Act (IAIA), which would provide $1 billion in supplemental funding for school infrastructure construction grants in Fiscal Year 2022 through the Impact Aid program. Similar legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives.
IAIA, led by Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Tina Smith (D-MN), builds upon the American Rescue Plan by providing additional funding for K-12 schools for necessary improvements to respond to COVID-19. Specifically, the bill would provide funding for improving school infrastructure through competitive and formula grants for school districts to design, build, improve, renovate and repair school buildings and facilities. Grants would be awarded to school districts with high percentages of military-connected students or students living on Indian lands. With this funding, IAIA would provide school districts with flexibility to focus on their specific renovation and repair needs, which could include changes to protect the health, safety and well-being of students, teachers, school leaders and school personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
“The American Rescue Plan makes a bold investment to support schools safely reopening for students and educators. Now we need to help schools build back better and address longstanding inequities in our education system. As we move forward on rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, we need to make sure we aren’t leaving our schools behind and this legislation will help make sure we don’t,” said Senator Baldwin.
“School districts that receive funding under the Impact Aid construction program educate some of our nation’s most vulnerable children,” said Hilary Goldmann, Executive Director of the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools. “The need to make emergency repairs and modernize buildings in these districts is well-documented, and the stakes are higher than ever given the COVID-19 pandemic. The Impact Aid Infrastructure Act will assist federally impacted school districts in both addressing health and safety concerns and making needed updates to support remote, hybrid, and in-person teaching and learning, giving students the opportunity to reach their full potential in these uncertain times.”
“This legislation builds on the critical investments made through the American Rescue Plan to improve school infrastructure and ventilation by making sure that schools in Hawaii and across the country have the resources and tools they need to support students, their families, and school staff during the pandemic and beyond. Every student, regardless of where they live, deserves to learn in a safe and healthy environment, and the schools they attend should have the resources they need to meet their particular infrastructure needs,” Senator Hirono said.
“Federally impacted school districts are in desperate need of resources to create a safe environment for students, teachers, and staff,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The Impact Aid Infrastructure Act will provide critical aid to these school districts to make long overdue repairs and renovate their facilities to meet public health guidelines. I am proud to lead this legislation with Senator Hirono and I will continue working to include this critical funding in any infrastructure package so that schools on or near military communities, or on Federal and Tribal Lands, in New York have the resources needed to provide every student with a safe learning environment and quality education.”
"Even prior to the pandemic, many Impact Aid schools already had significant infrastructure needs," said Senator Smith. "These grants will help schools make improvements that promote safe and effective learning environments—no matter whether class is virtual, in person, or a hybrid of the two—during the pandemic."
In addition to Senators Baldwin, Hirono, Gillibrand, Smith, the bill was cosponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Jon Tester (D-MT).
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