Fact Sheet: President Clinton and Vice President Gore: Modernizing America's Schools (10/24/00)
|                                                                         |
|                                                                         |
|               PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE:                |
|                      MODERNIZING AMERICA?S SCHOOLS                      |
|                            October 24, 2000                             |
|                                                                         |

Today, President Clinton will call on Congress to pass legislation to
provide communities new tools to modernize America?s schools -- and to do
it this year. President Clinton will be joined by Democratic leaders,
parents, children, teachers and educators, labor representatives, and other
members of a national grassroots coalition to build and repair our public
schools.  He will speak against the backdrop of a model schoolhouse that
will be built today on the South Lawn of the White House, symbolizing our
nation?s commitment to quality education and the need for Congress to act
on President Clinton?s education initiatives.

a safe, healthy, and modern place to learn.  President Clinton will urge
the congressional leadership to pass school construction legislation this
year.  Specifically, he has proposed:

?    $25 Billion in School Modernization Bonds.  President Clinton has
proposed $25 billion in school construction bonds that would be
interest-free for school districts.  The bonds would help build and
modernize 6,000 schools nationwide.  Districts could use these 15-year
bonds to modernize existing schools as well as build new ones.  Bond owners
would receive federal tax credits rather than interest payments from school
districts, allowing districts to borrow interest-free for school
construction.  A similar mechanism has been used successfully for Qualified
Zone Academy Bonds (QZABs).  In the U.S. House of Representatives, Reps.
Charles Rangel and Nancy Johnson?s legislation has been co-sponsored by a
bipartisan majority of the House, but the Republican leadership has refused
to bring it to a vote.  In the Senate, Sen. Charles Robb introduced a
similar bill.

?    $1.3 Billion for Urgent Repairs.  President Clinton has also proposed
a $1.3 billion initiative to make $6.7 billion in grants and interest-free
loans for emergency repairs at 5,000 schools.  Over five years, the
initiative would help 25,000 schools repair roofs, heating and cooling
systems, and electrical wiring.  The assistance would be targeted to
high-need districts.  Within this $1.3 billion, the initiative would
allocate $50 million for public schools with high concentrations of Native
American students.  Sen. Harkin and Rep. Clay have introduced urgent school
repair legislation in Congress.

?    Native American Schools.  The President has won $293 million?a $160
million increase and more than double last year?s level of $133 million?to
replace and repair BIA-funded schools on reservations.  This is the largest
investment ever in a single year for BIA school construction and repair.
These schools have an $800 million backlog in health, safety, and other
critical needs.  He also proposed to allocate $400 million of the $25
billion in School Modernization bonds for these schools over two years.
The Administration supports passage of legislation to make the bonding
proposal a reality for Indian communities.

across the country are struggling to address urgent safety and facility
needs, rising student enrollments, and smaller class sizes.  Costly
improvements such as the removal of asbestos and lead paint are needed in
many schools just to meet basic health and safety standards.

?    An estimated $127 billion is needed to bring America?s schools into
good overall condition, according to U.S. Department of Education.  An
estimated 3.5 million students attend schools that need extensive repair or
replacement.  (Condition of America?s Public School Facilities: 1999, 2000)

?    Our schools need over $300 billion to meet the costs of rising
enrollments and installing a modern technology infrastructure as well as
repairs, according to the National Education Association. (Modernizing Our
Schools: What Will It Cost?, 2000)

?    The average public school was built 42 years ago.  About one-third of
public schools were built before 1970 and haven?t been renovated since at
least 1980.  (National Center for Education Statistics, Condition of
Education 2000, p. 63).

?    School conditions matter: A growing body of research links student
achievement and behavior to the physical building conditions and
overcrowding.  Good facilities are an important precondition for student
learning, provided that other necessary conditions are also present.

President Clinton and Vice President Gore sent Congress a balanced and
fiscally responsible budget that makes investments in key education
initiatives.  Three weeks into the fiscal year, the President has signed
four continuing resolutions to give Congress more time to finish its work.
In particular, Congress still has not completed an education budget.  The
current Republican budget plan provides:

?    No guaranteed funding for urgent school repairs, $1.3 billion below
the President?s budget.  President Clinton?s plan would help school
districts repair roofs, heating and cooling systems, and electrical wiring.
The Republican plan could deny much-needed renovations to up to 5,000

?    $0 in new School Modernization Bonds, while the President?s budget
would support $25 billion in bonds.  The Republican plan would fail to help
communities build and modernize 6,000 schools;

?    $600 million for after-school programs, $400 million below the
President?s budget.  The Republican plan would deny safe extended learning
opportunities to 1.6 million children by supporting 3,100 fewer centers in
900 fewer communities than the President?s budget would;

?    No guaranteed funding for class-size reduction, $1.75 billion below
the President?s budget.  The Republican plan fails to ensure that school
districts can hire 20,000 new teachers and support the 29,000 teachers
already hired under the Class Size Reduction initiative, potentially
denying smaller classes to 2.9 million children;

?    $473 million for the President?s plan to improve teacher quality, $527
million below the President?s budget.  The Republican plan would fail to
fully fund the President?s proposal for teacher professional development,
recruitment, and rewards, and would not help ensure a qualified teacher in
every classroom; and

?    $0 for the Accountability Fund, $250 million below the President?s
budget.  The Republican plan would deny resources to states and school
districts to turn around low-performing schools and hold them accountable
for results.

the Building and Construction Trades Unions, with members of the affiliated
Washington, D.C., Regional Council of Carpenters, will build a model
schoolhouse on the White House lawn.  Designed to resemble the
quintessential little red schoolhouse -- an age-old symbol of our nation's
commitment to quality education -- the model school will call attention to
the pressing national need to provide our children with safe, healthy, and
modern places for our children to learn.  It will also underscore the need
for Congress to act on legislation to modernize our school facilities

                                   # # #

President and First Lady | Vice President and Mrs. Gore
Record of Progress | The Briefing Room
Gateway to Government | Contacting the White House | White House for Kids
White House History | White House Tours | Help
Privacy Statement


Site Map

Graphic Version

T H E   W H I T E   H O U S E