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Baca Supports Legislation to Modernize America's Schools, Increase Energy Efficiency

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Baca Supports Legislation to Modernize America's Schools, Increase Energy Efficiency

Bill Provides Over $24 Million for School Construction and Repair in Inland Area, Creates New Jobs

Today, Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) joined a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives to approve H.R. 2187, the 21st Century Green High-Performing Schools Facilities Act. This important legislation authorizes $6.4 billion for school construction projects for fiscal year 2010, and includes over $671 million in funding for physical improvement projects for California schools. H.R. 2187 passed with a 275 - 155 vote, and ensures that school districts will quickly receive funds for school modernization, renovation, and repairs that improve the teaching and learning climate, health and safety, and energy efficiency of our schools.

"School buildings should be safe and healthy learning environments for our children," said Rep. Baca. "Unfortunately, too many of our students in the Inland area and across the country are stuck in dilapidated classrooms and extension trailers. This legislation invests over $6 billion in funding for school construction projects that will help to modernize America's schools, including more than $24.7 million that will directly assist classrooms right here in the Inland Empire. These additional funds will benefit not only the health and wellbeing of our students and teachers in the 43rd District, but also helps to fight global warming by increasing energy efficiency."

In addition to providing schools with $6.4 billion for modernization, renovation and repair projects, H.R. 2187 also encourages greater energy efficiency and the use of more renewable resources at public schools. 90% of the funds allocated in the legislation must be used for projects that meet green building standards. A breakdown of the funding received by Inland school districts from today's legislation includes:

* San Bernardino City Unified School District - $11.29 million
* Fontana Unified School District - $4.33 million
* Ontario-Montclair Elementary School District - $3.54 million
* Rialto Unified School District - $3.31 million
* Colton Joint Unified School District - $2.4 million

H.R. 2187 also authorizes a separate $600 million over six years to rebuild public schools that were damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. This modernization of school buildings is expected to create 136,000 new jobs in industries that will give workers the skills they need to excel in a clean energy economy. The bill also supports America's working men and women by applying Davis-Bacon protections to all grants for school modernizations and repairs, ensuring fair wages and benefits are given to all construction workers who take part in the projects.

"With today's high gas and food costs, the American people need help," added Rep. Baca. "Not only does this bill improve America's schools, but it also creates a whopping 136,000 new jobs. And by ensuring Davis-Bacon worker protections, we have made sure these jobs are fair-paying opportunities that will not be outsourced."

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