Congressman Donald Norcross

Representing the 1st District of New Jersey
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Rep. Norcross Leads $130 Billion Effort to Rebuild America’s Public Schools

May 18, 2022
News Release

U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) today led the charge as an original co-leader of the Reopening and Rebuilding America’s Schools Act, which would address chronic neglect of America’s public schools by investing $130 billion in rebuilding physical and digital school infrastructure.

“It wasn’t long ago that I walked through Camden High and saw drinking fountains that were roped off because lead pipes tainted the water,” said Congressman Norcross. “This legislation will improve educational outcomes for our kids, ensure they have safe and healthy learning environments, and create good jobs in our communities. Basic things like clean air can have a tremendous impact on the ability of students to focus and retain their lessons, but as we learned during the pandemic good ventilation is not guaranteed for schools across the country.

Crumbling school facilities pose significant health and safety threats to more than 50 million students and 3 million teachers in public schools. A June 2020 report from the Government Accountability (GAO) on the state of school infrastructure—the agency’s first report on the subject since 1996—found that 54% of school districts across the country must replace or update major systems in more than half their buildings. The GAO report estimated that 4 in 10 districts need to update or replace HVAC systems in at least 50% of their school buildings.

The Rebuild America’s Schools Act would:

  • Invests $100 billion in grants and $30 billion in bond authority targeted at high-poverty schools with facilities that pose health and safety risks to students and staff.
  • Creates over 2 million jobs based on an Economic Policy Institute analysis that each $1 billion spent on construction creates 17,785 jobs.
  • Requires states to develop comprehensive state-wide public databases on the condition of public-school facilities; most states do not track school facility conditions and would provide much-needed insight into the condition of our public schools.
  • Expands access to high-speed broadband to ensure that public schools have the reliable and high-speed Internet access they need for digital learning.

Read a section-by-section of the bill here.