AFSA Pushing Hard for Rebuild America’s Schools Act

"School infrastructure is a major problem that can wait no longer for a solution. With the average public school over 50 years old, the need to update and make safer our 100,000 public K12 school facilities across the country has reached a critical juncture," AFSA President Ernest Logan, joined by five locals from California, wrote in a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives' leadership, urging federal legislative action to fix our schools.

"Each day, thousands of students and educators attend buildings with rotting floors and ceilings, inadequate heating and air conditioning, surrounded by mold and other irritants—all making for less than optimal learning and teaching conditions," they added.

Donis Coronel, executive director of the Administrators Association San Diego City Schools (AFSA Local 134) explains: “While our school principals and other employees on a school site do their very best to provide a quality education to all students, it is critical that the facilities are safe, clean and an inviting environment for our students and staff. To this end, we need the support of Congress to ensure that funding for the infrastructure is provided.”

Research shows that these conditions hinder students’ ability to learn, and history has shown that unsafe buildings are a physical threat to student safety. According to a report by the American Society of Civil Engineers, school facility infrastructure on average received a D+, and an estimated 53% of schools need improvement to reach good” condition. Additionally, a 2013 Center for Green Schools Report State of Our Schools estimated that schools currently have approximately $271 billion in deferred maintenance costs. The report estimates that it will cost $542 billion over the next 10 years to bring schools into good repair and to address modernization needs.

Without robust federal investment in school infrastructure, local schools will continue to deteriorate, the backlog of state and local school infrastructure projects will continue to lengthen and too many of our nation’s students will continue to attend class in dilapidated buildings. Beyond improving education for America’s children, a federal investment in renovating schools will yield great dividends for local economies, as it will help create thousands of construction and related jobs.

Janet Levenson, president of the Union of Berkeley Administrators (AFSA Local 81) and principal of Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, explains that “schools are the backbone of a democratic society, and our investment in safe buildings sends a clear message to our youth that we are investing in them for a strong future of our country.”