Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., released an infrastructure proposal Thursday that highlights the need to repair and modernize schools. The Minnesota Democrat said her plan would address schools’ physical as well as digital needs. Klobuchar said the plan would also create an “ongoing” role for the federal government with respect to school infrastructure.
“K-12 public schools represent the nation’s second-largest infrastructure sector, and the condition of school buildings is critical for advancing student performance, classroom learning, and student health,” Klobuchar said in a statement describing her plan. “And while school building conditions are a national problem, the disrepair of America’s public schools disproportionately affects students in low-income communities that cannot raise funds for maintenance, repair, or modernization.”
In a Medium post about her new plan, Klobuchar cited a 2017 study by the American Society of Civil Engineers that found half of the nation’s public schools need upgrades in order to be considered in “good” condition.
Her plan includes $650 billion in direct federal spending on infrastructure, with the additional funding coming from loans and various types of bonds. The plan also includes changes to the corporate tax system to help provide federal revenue to fund it.
Klobuchar isn’t the only Democratic lawmaker focused on the issue. In January, House Democrats introduced a $100 billion school infrastructure bill, and the House education committee approved the legislation shortly thereafter. It was the first education bill passed by that committee since Democrats took control of the House at the start of the year.
President Donald Trump has spoken in favor of significantly more spending on infrastructure. Yet he and Democrats have not been able to make any significant progress together on the issue. When the Trump team issued a broad blueprint for infrastructure projects a while back, it did not include targeted funding for schools.