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110th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     110-623

======================================================================



 
    21ST CENTURY GREEN HIGH-PERFORMING PUBLIC SCHOOL FACILITIES ACT

                                _______
                                

  May 8, 2008.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. George Miller of California, from the Committee on Education and 
                     Labor, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                             MINORITY VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 3021]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Education and Labor, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 3021) to direct the Secretary of Education to 
make grants and low-interest loans to local educational 
agencies for the construction, modernization, or repair of 
public kindergarten, elementary, and secondary educational 
facilities, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
report favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the 
bill as amended do pass.

  The amendments are as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

  (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``21st Century Green 
High-Performing Public School Facilities Act''.
  (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Definitions.

  TITLE I--GRANTS FOR MODERNIZATION, RENOVATION, OR REPAIR OF SCHOOL 
                               FACILITIES

Sec. 101. Purpose.
Sec. 102. Allocation of funds.
Sec. 103. Allowable uses of funds.

 TITLE II--SUPPLEMENTAL GRANTS FOR LOUISIANA, MISSISSIPPI, AND ALABAMA

Sec. 201. Purpose.
Sec. 202. Allocation to States.
Sec. 203. Allowable uses of funds.

                     TITLE III--GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sec. 301. Impermissible uses of funds.
Sec. 302. Supplement, not supplant.
Sec. 303. Maintenance of effort.
Sec. 304. Special rule on contracting.
Sec. 305. Application of GEPA.
Sec. 306. Green Schools.
Sec. 307. Reporting.
Sec. 308. Authorization of appropriations.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

  In this Act:
          (1) The term ``Bureau-funded school'' has the meaning given 
        to such term in section 1141 of the Education Amendments of 
        1978 (25 U.S.C. 2021).
          (2) The term ``charter school'' has the meaning given such 
        term in section 5210 of the Elementary and Secondary Education 
        Act of 1965.
          (3) The term ``local educational agency''--
                  (A) has the meaning given to that term in section 
                9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 
                1965, and shall also include the Recovery School 
                District of Louisiana and the New Orleans Public 
                Schools; and
                  (B) includes any public charter school that 
                constitutes a local educational agency under State law.
          (4) The term ``outlying area''--
                  (A) means the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, 
                American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern 
                Mariana Islands; and
                  (B) includes the freely associated states of the 
                Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States 
                of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau.
          (5) The term ``State'' means each of the 50 States, the 
        District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
          (6) The term ``LEED Green Building Rating System'' means the 
        United States Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and 
        Environmental Design green building rating standard referred to 
        as LEED Green Building Rating System.
          (7) The term ``Energy Star'' means the Energy Star program of 
        the United States Department of Energy and the United States 
        Environmental Protection Agency.
          (8) The term ``CHPS Criteria'' means the green building 
        rating program developed by the Collaborative for High 
        Performance Schools.

  TITLE I--GRANTS FOR MODERNIZATION, RENOVATION, OR REPAIR OF SCHOOL 
                               FACILITIES

SEC. 101. PURPOSE.

  Grants under this title shall be for the purpose of modernizing, 
renovating, or repairing public kindergarten, elementary, and secondary 
educational facilities that are safe, healthy, high-performing, and up-
to-date technologically.

SEC. 102. ALLOCATION OF FUNDS.

  (a) Reservation.--From the amount appropriated to carry out this 
title for each fiscal year pursuant to section 308(a), the Secretary 
shall reserve 1 percent of such amount, consistent with the purpose 
described in section 101--
          (1) to provide assistance to the outlying areas; and
          (2) for payments to the Secretary of the Interior to provide 
        assistance to Bureau-funded schools.
  (b) Allocation to States.--
          (1) State-by-state allocation.--Of the amount appropriated to 
        carry out this title for each fiscal year pursuant to section 
        308(a), and not reserved under subsection (a), each State shall 
        be allocated an amount in proportion to the amount received by 
        all local educational agencies in the State under part A of 
        title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 
        for the previous fiscal year relative to the total amount 
        received by all local educational agencies in every State under 
        such part for such fiscal year.
          (2) State administration.--A State may reserve up to 1 
        percent of its allocation under paragraph (1) to carry out its 
        responsibilities under this title, including--
                  (A) providing technical assistance to local 
                educational agencies;
                  (B) developing within 6 months of receiving its 
                allocation under paragraph (1) a plan to develop a 
                database that includes an inventory of public school 
                facilities in the State and the modernization, 
                renovation, and repair needs of, energy use by, and the 
                carbon footprint of such schools; and
                  (C) developing a school energy efficiency quality 
                plan.
          (3) Grants to local educational agencies.--From the amount 
        allocated to a State under paragraph (1), each local 
        educational agency in the State that meets the requirements of 
        section 1112(a) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act 
        of 1965 shall receive an amount in proportion to the amount 
        received by such local educational agency under part A of title 
        I of that Act for the previous fiscal year relative to the 
        total amount received by all local educational agencies in the 
        State under such part for such fiscal year, except that no 
        local educational agency that received funds under part A of 
        title I of that Act for such fiscal year shall receive a grant 
        of less than $5,000 in any fiscal year under this title.
          (4) Special rule.--Section 1122(c)(3) of the Elementary and 
        Secondary Education Act of 1965 shall not apply to paragraphs 
        (1) or (3).
  (c) Special Rules.--
          (1) Distributions by secretary.--The Secretary shall make and 
        distribute the reservations and allocations described in 
        subsections (a) and (b) not later than 30 days after an 
        appropriation of funds for this title is made.
          (2) Distributions by states.--A State shall make and 
        distribute the allocations described in subsection (b)(3) 
        within 30 days of receiving such funds from the Secretary.

SEC. 103. ALLOWABLE USES OF FUNDS.

  A local educational agency receiving a grant under this title may use 
the grant for modernization, renovation, or repair of public school 
facilities, including--
          (1) repairing, replacing, or installing roofs, electrical 
        wiring, plumbing systems, sewage systems, lighting systems, or 
        components of such systems, windows, or doors;
          (2) repairing, replacing, or installing heating, ventilation, 
        air conditioning systems, or components of such systems 
        (including insulation), including indoor air quality 
        assessments;
          (3) bringing public schools into compliance with fire and 
        safety codes, including modernizations, renovations, and 
        repairs that ensure that schools are prepared for emergencies;
          (4) modifications necessary to make public school facilities 
        accessible to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act 
        of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.) and section 504 of the 
        Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794), except that such 
        modifications shall not be the primary use of the grant;
          (5) asbestos abatement or removal from public school 
        facilities;
          (6) implementation of measures designed to reduce or 
        eliminate human exposure to lead-based paint hazards though 
        methods including interim controls, abatement, or a combination 
        of each;
          (7) upgrading or installing educational technology 
        infrastructure to ensure that students have access to up-to-
        date educational technology;
          (8) other modernization, renovation, or repair of public 
        school facilities to--
                  (A) improve teachers' ability to teach and students' 
                ability to learn;
                  (B) ensure the health and safety of students and 
                staff; or
                  (C) make them more energy efficient; and
          (9) required environmental remediation related to school 
        modernization, renovation, or repair described in paragraphs 
        (1) though (8).

 TITLE II--SUPPLEMENTAL GRANTS FOR LOUISIANA, MISSISSIPPI, AND ALABAMA

SEC. 201. PURPOSE.

  Grants under this title shall be for the purpose of modernizing, 
renovating, repairing or constructing public kindergarten, elementary, 
and secondary educational facilities that are safe, healthy, high-
performing, and up-to-date technologically in order to address such 
needs caused by damage resulting from Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane 
Rita.

SEC. 202. ALLOCATION TO STATES.

  (a) State-by-State Allocation.--Of the amount appropriated to carry 
out this title for each fiscal year pursuant to section 308(b), the 
Secretary shall allocate to Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama an 
amount equal to the number of schools in each of those States that were 
closed for 60 days or more during the period beginning on August 29, 
2005 and ending on December 31, 2005 due to Hurricane Katrina or 
Hurricane Rita, relative to the number of schools in all of those 
States combined that were so closed.
  (b) State Administration.--A State that receives funds under this 
title may reserve one-half of one percent of such funds for 
administrative purposes related to this title.
  (c) Grants to Local Educational Agencies.--States receiving funds 
under subsection (a) shall allocate such funds to local educational 
agencies within the State according to the criteria described in 
subsection (a).
  (d) Special Rules.--
          (1) Distributions by secretary.--The Secretary shall make and 
        distribute the allocations described in subsection (a) not 
        later than 30 days after an appropriation of funds for this 
        title is made.
          (2) Distributions by states.--A State shall make and 
        distribute the allocations described in subsection (c) within 
        30 days of receiving such funds from the Secretary.

SEC. 203. ALLOWABLE USES OF FUNDS.

  A local educational agency receiving a grant under this title may use 
the grant for any of the activities described in section 103, except 
that an agency receiving a grant under this title also may use such 
grant for such activities for the construction of new public 
kindergarten, elementary, and secondary school facilities.

                     TITLE III--GENERAL PROVISIONS

SEC. 301. IMPERMISSIBLE USES OF FUNDS.

  No funds received under this Act may be used for--
          (1) payment of maintenance costs; or
          (2) stadiums or other facilities primarily used for athletic 
        contests or exhibitions or other events for which admission is 
        charged to the general public.

SEC. 302. SUPPLEMENT, NOT SUPPLANT.

  A local educational agency receiving a grant under this Act shall use 
such Federal funds only to supplement and not supplant the amount of 
funds that would, in the absence of such Federal funds, be available 
for modernization, renovation, and repair of public kindergarten, 
elementary, and secondary educational facilities.

SEC. 303. MAINTENANCE OF EFFORT.

  A local educational agency may receive a grant under this Act for any 
fiscal year only if either the combined fiscal effort per student or 
the aggregate expenditures of the agency and the State involved with 
respect to the provision of free public education by the agency for the 
preceding fiscal year was not less than 90 percent of the combined 
fiscal effort or aggregate expenditures for the second preceding fiscal 
year.

SEC. 304. SPECIAL RULE ON CONTRACTING.

  Each local educational agency receiving a grant under this Act shall 
ensure that, if the agency carries out modernization, renovation, or 
repair through a contract, the process for any such contract ensures 
the maximum number of qualified bidders, including local, small, 
minority, and women- and veteran-owned businesses, through full and 
open competition.

SEC. 305. APPLICATION OF GEPA.

  The grant programs under this Act are applicable programs (as that 
term is defined in section 400 of the General Education Provisions Act 
(20 U.S.C. 1221)) subject to section 439 of such Act (20 U.S.C. 1232b).

SEC. 306. GREEN SCHOOLS.

  (a) In General.--In a given fiscal year, a local educational agency 
shall use not less than the applicable percentage of funds received 
under this Act described in subsection (b) for public school 
modernization, renovation, or repairs that are--
          (1) LEED Green Building Rating System-certified or consistent 
        with any applicable provisions of the LEED Green Building 
        Rating System;
          (2) Energy Star-certified or consistent with any applicable 
        provisions of Energy Star; or
          (3) certified, designed, or verified under or meet any 
        applicable provisions of an equivalent program to the LEED 
        Green Building Rating System or Energy Star adopted by the 
        State or another jurisdiction with authority over the local 
        educational agency, such as the CHPS Criteria.
  (b) Applicable Percentages.--The applicable percentages described in 
subsection (a) are--
          (1) in fiscal year 2009, 50 percent;
          (2) in fiscal year 2010, 60 percent;
          (3) in fiscal year 2011, 70 percent;
          (4) in fiscal year 2012, 80 percent; and
          (5) in fiscal year 2013, 90 percent.
  (c) Technical Assistance.--The Secretary, in consultation with the 
Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the Environmental 
Protection Agency, shall provide outreach and technical assistance to 
States and school districts concerning the best practices in school 
modernization, renovation, and repair, including those related to 
student academic achievement and student and staff health, energy 
efficiency, and environmental protection.

SEC. 307. REPORTING.

  (a) Reports by Local Educational Agencies.--Local educational 
agencies receiving a grant under this Act shall annually compile a 
report describing the projects for which such funds were used, 
including--
          (1) the number of public schools in the agency;
          (2) the number of schools in the agency with a metro-centric 
        locale code of 41, 42, or 43 as determined by the National 
        Center for Education Statistics and the percentage of funds 
        received by the agency under title I or title II of this Act 
        that were used for projects at such schools;
          (3) the number of schools in the agency that are eligible for 
        schoolwide programs under section 1114 of the Elementary and 
        Secondary Education Act of 1965 and the percentage of funds 
        received by the agency under title I or title II of this Act 
        that were used for projects at such schools; and
          (4) for each project--
                  (A) the cost;
                  (B) the standard described in section 306(a) with 
                which the use of the funds complied or if the use of 
                funds did not comply with a standard described in 
                section 306(a), the reason such funds were not able to 
                be used in compliance with such standards and the 
                agency's efforts to use such funds in an 
                environmentally sound manner; and
                  (C) any demonstrable or expected benefits as a result 
                of the project (such as energy savings, improved indoor 
                environmental quality, improved climate for teaching 
                and learning, etc.).
  (b) Availability of Reports.--A local educational agency shall--
          (1) submit the report described in subsection (a) to the 
        State educational agency, which shall compile such information 
        and report it annually to the Secretary; and
          (2) make the report described in subsection (a) publicly 
        available, including on the agency's website.
  (c) Reports by Secretary.--Not later than December 31 of each fiscal 
year, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Education and 
Labor of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Health, 
Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate a report on grants made 
under this Act, including the information described in subsection 
(b)(1), the types of modernization, renovation, and repair funded, and 
the number of students impacted, including the number of students 
counted under section 1113(a)(5) of the Elementary and Secondary 
Education Act of 1965.

SEC. 308. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

  (a) Title I.--To carry out title I, there are authorized to be 
appropriated $6,400,000,000 for fiscal year 2009 and such sums as may 
be necessary for each of fiscal years 2010 through 2013.
  (b) Title II.--To carry out title II, there are authorized to be 
appropriated $100,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2009 through 2013.

  Amend the title so as to read:

    A bill to direct the Secretary of Education to make grants 
to State educational agencies for the modernization, 
renovation, or repair of public kindergarten, elementary, and 
secondary educational facilities, and for other purposes.

                               I. PURPOSE

    The purpose of H.R. 3021, the 21st Century Green High-
Performing Public School Facilities Act, is to support States' 
and local educational agencies' efforts to provide public 
school students with schools that are safe, healthy, high-
performing, and up-to-date technologically, and to promote 
green building principles.

                          II. COMMITTEE ACTION

110th Congress

            Full Committee hearing on ``Modern Public School 
                    Facilities: Investing in the Future''
    On Wednesday, February 13, 2008, the Committee on Education 
and Labor held a hearing in Washington, D.C., on ``Modern 
Public School Facilities: Investing in the Future.'' The 
purpose of the hearing was to highlight the poor quality of 
public school buildings frequently found throughout the United 
States, particularly in low-income areas, and the importance of 
federal investment in public school buildings. Testifying 
before the full Committee were, on the first panel, 
Representatives Ben Chandler (D-KY), Michael N. Castle (R-DE), 
Bob Etheridge (D-NC), David Loebsack (D-IA), Charles Boustany 
(R-LA), Darlene Hooley (D-OR), Steve King (R-IA) and Rush Holt 
(D-NJ), and on the second panel, Kathleen J. Moore, Director, 
School Facilities Planning Division, California Department of 
Education (Sacramento, California); Judi Caddick, Teacher, 
Memorial Junior High School, Illinois Education Association 
(Lansing, Illinois); Mary Cullinane, Director, Innovation and 
Business Development Team, Microsoft Corporation (New York, New 
York); Dr. Paula Vincent, Superintendent, Clear Creek Amana 
School District (Oxford, Iowa); Paul Vallas, Superintendent, 
Louisiana Recovery School District (New Orleans, Louisiana); 
Jim Waters, Director, Policy and Communications, Bluegrass 
Institute for Public Policy Solutions (Bowling Green, 
Kentucky); Neal McCluskey, Associate Director, Center for 
Educational Freedom, CATO Institute (Washington, D.C.).
            Introduction of the ``21st Century High-Performing Public 
                    School Facilities Act''
    On Thursday, July 12, 2007, Representatives Ben Chandler 
(D-KY), George Miller (D-CA), and Dale Kildee (D-MI) introduced 
H.R. 3021, the 21st Century High-Performing Public School 
Facilities Act, a bill to direct the Secretary of Education to 
make grants and low-interest loans to local educational 
agencies for the construction, modernization, or repair of 
public kindergarten, elementary, and secondary educational 
facilities, and for other purposes.
            Full Committee Markup of H.R. 3021
    On Wednesday, April 30, 2008, the Committee on Education 
and Labor considered H.R. 3021 in legislative session, and 
reported the bill favorably, as amended, to the House of 
Representatives by a vote of 28-19. Representatives Loebsack 
and Kildee offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute.
    The amendment in the nature of a substitute makes the 
following changes to H.R. 3021:
          Inserts the word ``Green'' into the Act's title;
          Converts the competitive grant and loan program 
        authorized by the bill to a formula grant program, 
        based on each State's and local educational agency's 
        allocation under Part A of Title I of the Elementary 
        and Secondary Education Act of 1965;
          Requires the Secretary of Education to distribute 
        funds to States within thirty days of the Department's 
        appropriation, and States to distribute funds to local 
        educational agencies within thirty days of having 
        received such funds;
          Requires the Secretary to provide technical 
        assistance to States and local educational agencies;
          Requires States to provide technical assistance to 
        local educational agencies, to develop a plan to 
        establish a database that includes an inventory of 
        public school facilities in the State and the 
        modernization, renovation, and repair needs of, energy 
        use by, and carbon footprint of such schools, and to 
        develop a school energy efficiency quality plan;
          Requires local educational agencies to use an 
        increasing percentage of funds received under the bill 
        in compliance with sustainable building rating systems;
          Adds a title authorizing funds for grants to local 
        educational agencies in Louisiana, Mississippi and 
        Alabama to compensate for damage to public school 
        facilities caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 
        2005; and
          Clarifies that local educational agencies are 
        required to report publicly on the sustainable building 
        rating systems with which their uses of funds comply, 
        to explain any uses of funds that did not comply with 
        such systems, and to explain the demonstrated or 
        expected benefits from their uses of funds (such as 
        energy savings, indoor environmental quality, improved 
        climate for teaching and learning, etc.), and the 
        percentage of funds used in low-income and rural 
        schools.
    The Committee rejected six amendments by roll-call vote. 
The Chair ruled two other amendments out of order on the ground 
that they addressed issues that were beyond the scope of the 
amendment in the nature of a substitute. The Committee upheld 
both rulings by roll-call vote.

                        III. SUMMARY OF THE BILL

    As reported, Title I of H.R. 3021 authorizes $6.4 billion 
for fiscal year 2009 and such sums through fiscal year 2013. 
The bill ensures that school districts around the country will 
quickly receive funds for much needed public school 
modernization, renovation, and repair projects to improve the 
teaching and learning climate, student and staff health and 
safety, energy efficiency, and the environment. It directs the 
Secretary to reserve one percent of Title I funds for 
assistance to outlying areas and Bureau of Indian Education-
funded schools.
    H.R. 3021 allocates to each State the same percentage of 
funds that the state receives under Title I, Part A of the 
Elementary and Secondary Education Act and allocates within 
States the same percentage to each school district that the 
school district receives under such part (except that no such 
school district will receive less than $5,000). It also 
requires the Secretary to distribute funds to states within 
thirty days of appropriation for redistribution to school 
districts within thirty days of receipt.
    The bill allows States to reserve one percent of their 
Title I allocation for technical assistance and to develop a 
plan to create a statewide database of public school facility 
inventory, modernization, renovation and repair needs, energy 
use, and carbon footprint, and a school energy efficiency 
quality plan.
    Funds under Title I may be used for public school 
modernization, renovation, and repair, including repair to 
roofs, electrical, plumbing, sewage and lighting systems or 
components thereof, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning 
systems or components thereof, including insulation and indoor 
air quality assessments. Funds may also be used to bring 
schools into compliance with fire and safety codes, including 
modernizations, renovations, and repairs that ensure that 
schools are prepared for emergencies. Funds may be used to 
comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and 
section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; however, a local 
educational agency's funds may not be used primarily for those 
purposes. Additional uses contemplated by the bill include, 
asbestos abatement or removal; reduction of human exposure to 
lead-based paint hazards; upgrading or installing educational 
technology infrastructure; other modernizations, renovations, 
or repairs that improve the teaching and learning climate, 
ensure the health and safety of students and staff, or make 
schools more energy efficient; and required environmental 
remediation related to modernizations, renovations, or 
improvements described above.
    H.R. 3021, as amended, requires that funds be used for 
projects that meet one of three widely recognized green 
standards (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) 
Green Building Rating System, Energy Star, or Collaborative for 
High Performance Schools) or an equivalent State or local 
standard. School districts may waive the green requirement for 
a percentage of the funds (fifty percent in 2009, forty percent 
in 2010, thirty percent in 2011, twenty percent in 2012, and 
ten percent in 2013) if the circumstances make the requirement 
impracticable.
    In Title II, the bill authorizes $100 million for each of 
fiscal year from 2009 through 2013 for public schools in the 
Gulf region in response to damages from Hurricane Katrina or 
Hurricane Rita. These funds are to be used for the same 
purposes as Title I funds, and also may be used for new 
construction.
    The bill includes provisions to require local educational 
agencies to ensure that the bid process for any projects 
carried out through a contract ensures the maximum number of 
qualified bidders, including local, small, minority, women- and 
veteran-owned businesses, through full and open competition.
    Davis-Bacon labor law protections apply to all funds 
received under the Act.
    The bill requires school districts to report publicly on 
educational, energy, and environmental benefits of projects, 
compliance with the green requirement, and the percentage of 
funds used for projects at low-income and rural schools. States 
must compile these reports and submit them to the Secretary who 
shall, in turn, report to the House Committee on Education and 
Labor and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and 
Pensions.
    Finally, the Act requires the Secretary of Education (in 
consultation with the Secretary of Energy and Administrator of 
the Environmental Protection Agency) to create a best practices 
in school construction database and to provide technical 
assistance to States and school districts concerning such best 
practices.

                          IV. COMMITTEE VIEWS

    The Committee believes that H.R. 3021 addresses a number of 
important issues--the quality of our nation's public school 
facilities, student achievement, the state of the economy, and 
the state of the environment. The Committee believes that these 
issues are interrelated and that each represents a critical 
national concern.
    With the exception of funding through the Impact Aid 
program and through the Department of the Interior for Indian 
schools, direct federal support for school construction has 
been virtually non-existent since fiscal year 2001 when 
Congress appropriated $1.2 billion primarily for emergency 
school repair and renovation. The Committee agrees with 
Representative Ben Chandler's testimony before the Committee, 
that ``[w]hile Congress has recognized that educational 
excellence is vital to the economy and national 
competitiveness, too often we have failed to provide . . . the 
funding necessary to make these goals a reality.''\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Testimony of Representative Ben Chandler, Hearing, U.S. House of 
Representatives, Committee on Education and Labor, Modern Public School 
Facilities: Investing in the Future, February 13, 2008 (http://
edlabor.house.gov/testimony/2008-02-13-BenChandler.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The demand for new and renovated public school facilities 
is unprecedented in our nation's history.\2\ A briefing paper 
delivered at an Economic Policy Institute forum, Investing in 
U.S. Infrastructure, the day before the Committee approved this 
legislation, called for $50 billion in federal funds for 
capital outlays for low-income school districts and an ongoing 
federal role in such funding comparable to the current federal 
share of education operations funding (approximately 10 
percent). The paper argued that such funding is necessary to 
ensure that ``the nation's public schools are healthy, safe, 
environmentally sound, and built . . . to support a high-
quality education.''\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\Testimony of Kathleen J. Moore, Director, School Facilities 
Planning Division, California Department of Education, Hearing, U.S. 
House of Representatives, Committee on Education and Labor, Modern 
Public School Facilities: Investing in the Future, February 13, 2008 
(http://edlabor.house.gov/testimony/2008-02-13-KathleenMoore.pdf).
    \3\Good Buildings, Better Schools, Filardo, M., Economic Policy 
Institute Briefing Paper, April 29, 2008.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Need and disparity

    The most recent comprehensive estimates of the national 
need for school construction and renovation were made in 1995 
($112 billion, U.S. General Accounting Office\4\ (GAO)\5\) and 
2000 ($127 billion, National Center for Education Statistics\6\ 
NCES) and $322 billion, National Education Association\7\ 
(NEA)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\Condition of America's Schools, Government Accounting Office, 
1995 (GAO/HEHS-95-61).
    \5\In 2004, the General Accounting Office was renamed the 
Government Accountability Office. The Committee will use ``GAO'' to 
refer to both.
    \6\Condition of America's Public School Facilities: 1999, National 
Center for Education Statistics.
    \7\Modernizing Our Schools: What Will It Cost?, National Education 
Association, 2000.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Several studies highlight the inadequacy of school 
facilities. In 2005, the American Society of Civil Engineers, 
on its national infrastructure report card, gave America's 
public schools a D.\8\ A 2005 survey of school principals by 
NCES found that fifty-two percent of schools had no science 
laboratories, thirty percent had no art rooms, nineteen percent 
had no music rooms, and seventeen percent had no gymnasium.\9\ 
A 2004 NCES report found that one school in three had temporary 
buildings as the primary learning space for at least 160 
students, and that in one in five schools, teachers routinely 
had to use a building's common areas for instructional 
purposes.\10\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\http://www.asce.org/reportcard/2005/page.cfm?id=31.
    \9\Public School Principals Report on Their School Facilities: Fall 
2005, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education 
Statistics.
    \10\Characteristics of Schools, Districts, Teachers, Principals, 
and School Libraries in the United States 2003-2004, Schools and 
Staffing Survey, National Center for Education Statistics.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Disparities in the condition of our schools are also well-
documented. In 1996, GAO reported, in a follow-up to an earlier 
study, that on every measure--inadequate buildings or building 
features, unsatisfactory environmental conditions, etc. the 
same subgroups--schools in central cities, western states, and 
schools serving higher percentages of minority or low-income 
students--reported having more significant problems.\11\ In 
2006, a report by Building Educational Success Together (BEST) 
concluded that the GAO and NEA estimates ``grossly 
underestimated'' the need for school improvements, and 
concurred with the 1996 GAO finding that facilities in low-
income and minority-serving areas tended to be in significantly 
worse condition. The report also concluded that despite 
significant State and local expenditures on school construction 
and renovation from 1996-2004, ``there continue to be millions 
of students in substandard and crowded school conditions.''\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\America's Schools Report Differing Conditions, Government 
Accounting Office, 1996 (GAO/HEHS-96-103).
    \12\Growth and Disparity: A Decade of U.S. Public School 
Construction, Building Educational Success Together, 2006.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    It is the Committee's intent that funds authorized by this 
bill be used to ensure that all children have access to a high-
quality public school facility. The Committee recognizes that 
facility quality disparity is most likely to occur in low-
income areas. Accordingly, the Committee encourages local 
educational agencies to take care to ensure that the needs of 
low-income and rural schools are addressed by giving priority 
to schools where modernization, renovation, and repair will 
most benefit students, teachers, and other staff and ensuring 
that the schools are safe, healthy, conducive to teaching and 
learning, energy efficient, and environmentally sound.

Green Schools

    A 2006 report concludes that a green school (1) uses 
thirty-fifty percent less energy than a conventional school; 
(2) reduces harmful carbon dioxide emissions by forty percent, 
which helps reduce global climate change; (3) uses thirty 
percent less water; (4) has better lighting and temperature 
controls, which promotes higher student achievement; and (5) 
has a more comfortable indoor environment, improved ventilation 
and indoor air quality, which result in short-term ($96,760 per 
year) and long-term savings as a result of green building.\13\ 
The average national school construction cost is $150 per 
square foot; building green adds only $3 per square foot. 
According to the study, the long-term savings from green 
buildings are $70 per square foot.\14\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\Greening America's Schools, Kats, G., 2006
    \14\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The importance of energy savings was illustrated by hearing 
testimony of Representative and Committee Member Rush Holt (D-
NJ). Representative Holt noted that between 2005 and 2007, 
schools' energy costs increased from $6 billion annually to $8 
billion.\15\ According to Representative and Committee Member 
David Loebsack's testimony at the same hearing, green schools 
save thirty-three percent on energy and thirty-two percent on 
water costs compared to non-green schools.\16\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \15\Testimony of Representative Rush Holt, Hearing, U.S. House of 
Representatives, Committee on Education and Labor, Modern Public School 
Facilities: Investing in the Future, February 13, 2008 (http://
edlabor.house.gov/testimony/2008-02-13-RushHolt.pdf.
    \16\Testimony of Representative David Loebsack, Hearing, U.S. House 
of Representatives, Committee on Education and Labor, Modern Public 
School Facilities: Investing in the Future, February 13, 2008 (http://
edlabor.house.gov/testimony/2008-02-13-DaveLoebsack.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee believes that green building can serve a 
number of purposes. Such building will directly benefit both 
the larger environment and the indoor environment. The 
Committee further believes that green building will improve the 
ability of teachers to teach and students to learn as well as 
the health of students, teachers, and other school staff.
    States, cities, and school districts around the country 
have adopted green building and green schools initiatives. 
Representative Darlene Hooley (D-OR) (Co-Chair of the 
Congressional Green Schools Caucus) testified that by 2010, the 
green building market will be worth $60 billion, of which 
twenty-seven percent will be comprised by school 
facilities.\17\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \17\Testimony of Representative Darlene Hooley, Hearing, U.S. House 
of Representatives, Committee on Education and Labor, Modern Public 
School Facilities: Investing in the Future, February 13, 2008 (http://
edlabor.house.gov/testimony/2008-02-13-DarleneHooley.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee believes that a critical component of the 
success of this bill will be local educational agencies' 
knowledge of best practices in school construction, 
modernization, renovation, and repair as they relate to green 
building.
    With reference to States' responsibilities, the bill 
directs States to develop state-level school energy efficiency 
quality plans. The Committee encourages States, in developing 
such plans, to look for guidance to the definition of such 
plans in H.R. 3197, the School Building Enhancement Act, 
introduced by Representative Holt. That bill defines such plans 
as including standards for school building design, 
construction, and renovation; and proposals for the systematic 
improvement (including benchmarks and timelines) of 
environmental conditions in and around schools throughout the 
State. H.R. 3197 also encourages purchasing environmentally 
preferable products for instruction and maintenance, increasing 
the use of alternative energy fuels in school buses, and 
maximizing transportation choices for students, staff, and 
other members of the community.
    The Committee encourages the Secretary, in carrying out the 
Department's technical assistance responsibilities under H.R. 
3021, as amended, to examine the Illinois Resource Guide for 
Healthy, High-Performing School Buildings. The recommendations 
and information in the guide are intended to provide school 
administrators, school boards and other community members with 
guidance to make informed decisions about health and energy 
efficiency issues important to schools. The guide's objective 
is to promote long-term thinking and to ensure that school 
buildings are compatible with the goals of improving learning 
environments, reducing operating costs, supporting health and 
safety, and protecting our natural environment.\18\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \18\For a discussion of a case study in building a modern, green 
school, see, Testimony of Mary Cullinane, Director, Innovation and 
Business Development Team, Microsoft Corporation, Hearing, U.S. House 
of Representatives, Committee on Education and Labor, Modern Public 
School Facilities: Investing in the Future, February 13, 2008 (http://
edlabor.house.gov/testimony/2008-02-13-MaryCullinane.pdf).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Impact on teaching and learning

    The Committee believes that while equity alone justifies 
federal support for local educational agencies to ensure that 
every child has access to a high-quality public school 
facility, such support also is essential to closing the 
achievement gap. The Committee believes that the relationship 
between the quality of school facilities and student 
achievement and teacher performance and retention are 
positively intertwined.\19\ Research demonstrates that better 
school facilities result in improved student achievement and 
teacher recruitment and retention. The physical condition of 
schools also affects student and teacher health.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \19\See, e.g., Testimony of Judi Caddick, Teacher, Memorial Junior 
High School, Illinois Education Association, Lansing, Illinois, 
Hearing, U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Education and 
Labor, Modern Public School Facilities: Investing in the Future, 
February 13, 2008 (http://edlabor.house.gov/testimony/2008-02-13-
JudiCaddick.pdf).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    According to a 2004 report by the 21st Century School Fund, 
inadequate school facilities can result in alienated students, 
low staff morale, high teacher attrition, the inability to 
provide specialized curricula, reduced learning time, 
distractions from learning, reduced ability to meet special 
needs, lack of technological proficiency, health problems for 
students and staff, safety hazards, and less supervision of 
student behavior.\20\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \20\For Generations to Come, 21st Century School Fund, 2004.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In its 2005 survey, NCES noted that a key reason for school 
construction and renovation is student and teacher safety, but 
that building quality also affects the context for learning, 
such that lighting, noise reduction, air quality and other 
factors can affect student achievement and behavior. NCES 
further noted that building quality affects teacher retention--
forty percent of teachers who transferred schools and thirty-
nine percent who left teaching cited the need for significant 
school repairs as a source of their dissatisfaction.\21\ NCES 
found that one-third of school principals cited at least one 
environmental factor\22\ as interfering with their ability to 
deliver instruction.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \21\Another study finding a relationship between facility quality 
and teacher retention is The Effects of School Facility Quality on 
Teacher Retention in Urban School Districts, Buckley, J., Schneider, 
M., and Shang, Y., 2004.
    \22\Those factors include: air conditioning, size/configuration of 
rooms, acoustics or noise control, ventilation, heating, physical 
condition, indoor air quality, natural lighting, artificial lighting.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A 2004 study of the Los Angeles Unified School District, 
authored by the current Commissioner of NCES, found a positive 
relationship between a school's compliance with fourteen health 
and safety measures\23\ and its students' academic performance 
on California State tests.\24\ And, the testimony at the 
Committee's February 13, 2008 hearing of Dr. Paula Vincent, the 
Superintendent of the Clear Creek Amana (Iowa) School District 
identifies and discusses a number of other studies linking 
school facilities with improved student achievement and teacher 
performance and retention.\25\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \23\The fourteen health and safety measures are accident 
prevention, asbestos management, fire/life safety, campus security, 
chemical safety, pest management, lead management, restroom facilities, 
indoor environment, maintenance and repair, safe school plan, emergency 
preparedness, traffic and pedestrian safety, and science laboratory 
safety.
    \24\LAUSD School Facilities and Academic Performance, Buckley, J., 
Schneider, M. and Shang, Y., 2004.
    \25\http://edlabor.house.gov/testimony/2008-02-13-PaulaVincent.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Impact on health

    A 2004 study mandated by the Elementary and Secondary 
Education Act of 1965, as amended by the No Child Left Behind 
Act, and funded by the Department of Education found that 
``overall evidence suggests that poor environments in schools, 
due primarily to the effects of indoor pollutants, adversely 
affect the health, performance, and attendance of students.'' 
Specifically, the study found that indoor environmental quality 
can influence health outcomes, which may, in turn, influence 
student and teacher performance directly and indirectly.\26\ 
The study cites the 1995 GAO finding that thirty percent of 
schools reported unsatisfactory ventilation.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \26\A Summary of Scientific Findings on Adverse Effects of Indoor 
Environments on Students' Health, Academic Performance and Attendance, 
U.S. Department of Education, Policy and Program Studies Service, 2004.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Centers for Disease Control advises that asthma 
accounts for more than fourteen million missed school days per 
year.\27\ A 2006 report by the American Federation of Teachers 
concludes that ``[p]oor air quality in schools contributes to 
students' asthma, absences due to illness, difficulty 
concentrating, and lower achievement.''\28\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \27\http://www.cdc.gov/asthma/children.htm.
    \28\Building Minds, Minding Buildings, American Federation of 
Teachers, 2006.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Impact on community

    According to the 2006 BEST study, the difference between 
good and poor quality facilities also affects the communities 
in which they are located. School quality has a direct, 
positive impact on residential property values and can improve 
a community's ability to attract businesses and workers.\29\ 
This point also is supported by Representative Bob Etheridge's 
testimony at the February 13, 2008 Committee hearing on this 
issue.\30\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \29\Growth and Disparity: A Decade of U.S. Public School 
Construction, Building Educational Success Together, 2006.
    \30\Testimony of Representative Bob Etheridge, Hearing, U.S. House 
of Representatives, Committee on Education and Labor, Modern Public 
School Facilities: Investing in the Future, February 13, 2008 (http://
edlabor.house.gov/testimony/2008-02-13-BobEtheridge.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The BEST study also concluded that investments in school 
facilities bring money into local economies through job 
creation and supply purchases and can help revitalize 
distressed neighborhoods. The Committee is persuaded by these 
findings and expects that this bill will produce positive 
results in our communities.

Impact on economy

    As our nation faces recession and rising unemployment, 
direct federal investment in school construction and renovation 
could provide an immediate boost to our economy and generate 
jobs. Federal funding for the modernization, renovation, or 
repair of school facilities could be spent quickly and 
efficiently to address the loss of 394,000 construction jobs 
between September 2006 and March 2008.\31\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \31\See U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 
Employment Situation Summary, April 4, 2008.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    An analysis of H.R. 3021 as amended by the substitute was 
provided to the Committee by Rebuild America's Schools. The 
analysis estimates that if this bill is enacted, it would 
create 103,354 new jobs. Other letters received by the 
Committee in support of H.R. 3021 suggest that it could create 
269,440 jobs.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

    H.R. 3021 provides additional support for Gulf Coast 
schools still recovering from damage caused by Hurricanes 
Katrina and Rita. The Gulf region, primarily New Orleans, has 
hundreds of millions of dollars in unmet school modernization, 
renovation, repair and construction need as a result of 
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
    Prior to the impacts of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the 
Recovery School District of Louisiana (RSD) already had a 
deferred maintenance infrastructure deficit of approximately $1 
billion. The hurricanes wrought an additional $800 million in 
damage to the district's schools. Since Katrina, the district 
has re-opened sixty-three schools, serving approximately 26,000 
students. Last year, it opened more than ten modular school 
facilities, spending more than $90 million of Federal Emergency 
Management Agency (FEMA) funds for this purpose. During the 
2006-2007 school year, the district did not have the physical 
seat capacity for students and had a months-long ``waiting 
list'' for students to enter public schools. In the period of 
February through April 2008, more than 1,000 students returned 
to New Orleans schools.
    The impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita has increased the 
urgency of the district's planning for the construction of five 
new schools by the start of the 2009-2010 school year. These 
schools will be designed to the highest standard and will 
incorporate substantial elements of green building. In June 
2008, the RSD and Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) will 
release the joint facilities Master Plan for Orleans Parish, 
which will lay out the long-term plan for Orleans Parish public 
school facilities. It will show how the school districts plan 
to replace (using permanent facilities) the seat capacity now 
provided by the modular schools, as the modular schools only 
have approximately a five year lifespan. The funding from this 
bill will help the districts, and others in the Gulf region, 
meet these important and timely needs as they continue to 
recover from the hurricanes.

Davis-Bacon

    Under the bill, the construction, modernization, repair, 
and renovation projects paid for, in whole or in part, with the 
grants made available by this legislation are subject to Davis-
Bacon prevailing wage requirements. Davis-Bacon prevailing wage 
rules ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to undercut 
local wage rates. These rules require contractors to pay the 
local prevailing wage to their employees.
    Davis-Bacon requirements will help control costs, ensure 
higher quality work, and improve safety. Studies have shown 
that, where prevailing wages are not required, contractors 
compete on the basis of labor costs, frequently resulting in 
poor construction quality as well as substantial cost and time 
overruns due to cheaper workers' lower levels of skill, 
productivity, and training.\33\ Where prevailing wages are 
paid, higher rates of productivity, safety, and building 
quality more than offset the cost of higher wages. For example, 
one study by the Mechanical Electrical Sheet Metal Alliance, 
focusing on highway and bridge construction, found that workers 
who were paid more than double the wage of low-wage workers 
were able to build 74.4 more miles of highway and 32.8 more 
miles of bridges for $557 million less.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \33\See generally, Peter Philips, ``Square Foot Construction Costs 
for Newly Constructed State and Local Schools, Offices and Warehouses 
in Nine Southwestern and Intermountain States 1992-1994,'' Prepared for 
the Legislative Education Study Committee of the New Mexico State 
Legislature, September 6, 1996.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Davis-Bacon requirements help save federal, State, and 
local revenue. By creating family-supporting jobs in local 
communities that do not drive workers' wages down, these 
requirements ease the burden on public programs and provide 
support for more economic activity. Studies have found that 
repeal of local prevailing wage laws results in lower incomes, 
loss of sales tax revenues, and a general loss of economic 
activity.\34\ These are precisely the types of effects the 
Committee intends to avoid by providing federal assistance to 
local communities consistent with Davis-Bacon.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \34\Michael P. Kelsay et al., ``The Adverse Economic Impact from 
Repeal of the Prevailing Wage Law in Missouri,'' Council for Promoting 
American Business, January 2004.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Conclusion

    For the reasons stated above, the Committee believes 
passage of this bill will provide significant educational 
benefits for our nation's students, health benefits for 
students, teachers, and others who work in our schools, 
financial benefits for schools resulting from energy savings, 
economic benefits for hundreds of thousands of American workers 
and their families, and environmental benefits.\35\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \35\Among the many organizations supporting H.R. 3021 are AFL-CIO; 
American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees; American 
Federation of Teachers; American Association of School Administrators; 
Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO; California Small 
School Districts Association; Californians for School Facilities; 
Council of the Great City Schools; International Brotherhood of 
Electrical Workers; International Union of Bricklayers and Allied 
Craftworkers; International Union of Operating Engineers; International 
Union of Painters and Allied Trades; Mason Contractors Association of 
America; National Association of Elementary School Principals; National 
Association of Secondary School Principals; National Education 
Association; National School Boards Association; United Association of 
Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of 
the United States and Canada; Parent Teacher Association; Rebuild 
America's Schools Coalition; U.S. Green Building Council.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                     V. SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Sec. 2. Definitions.

    Includes definitions of Bureau-funded school, charter 
school, local educational agency, outlying area, State, LEED 
Green Building Rating System, Energy Star, and CHPS Criteria.

  TITLE I--GRANTS FOR MODERNIZATION, RENOVATION, OR REPAIR OF SCHOOL 
                               FACILITIES

Sec. 101. Purpose

    Indicates the purpose of grants under Title I is for 
modernizing, renovating, or repairing public kindergarten, 
elementary, and secondary educational facilities.

Sec. 102. Allocation of funds

    Directs the Secretary to reserve one percent of funds 
appropriated for Title I in any fiscal year for assistance to 
the outlying areas and for payments to the Secretary of the 
Interior for assistance to Bureau-funded schools. Allows each 
State to reserve up to one percent of funds appropriated for 
Title I in any fiscal year to provide technical assistance, and 
to develop a plan to create a database of information 
concerning the State's public school inventory, modernization, 
renovation and repair needs, and energy use.
    Allocates to each State the same percentage of funds 
appropriated under Title I of this Act that the State receives 
under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education 
Act of 1965. Within each State, allocates to each local 
educational agency the same percentage of funds appropriated 
under Title I of this Act that the agency receives under Title 
I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 
1965.
    Requires the Secretary, in determining State and local 
allocations, to take into account the hold-harmless provisions 
of Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education 
Act of 1965.
    Requires the Secretary to distribute funds to States within 
thirty days of the Department's appropriation and requires 
States to distribute funds to local educational agencies within 
thirty days of having received them from the Secretary.

Sec. 103. Allowable uses of funds

    Describes the types of public school modernizations, 
renovations, and repairs that are allowable uses of funds under 
Title I, including roofs, electrical, plumbing, sewage and 
lighting systems, or components thereof; heating, ventilation, 
and air-conditioning systems, or components thereof, including 
insulation and indoor air quality assessments; bringing schools 
into compliance with fire and safety codes, including 
modernizations, renovations, and repairs that ensure that 
schools are prepared for emergencies; compliance with the 
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and section 504 of the 
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, except that such compliance may not 
be the primary use of a local educational agency's funds; 
asbestos abatement or removal; reduction of human exposure to 
lead-based paint hazards; upgrading or installing educational 
technology infrastructure; other modernizations, renovations, 
or repairs that improve the teaching and learning climate, 
ensure the health and safety of students and staff, or make 
schools more energy efficient; and required environmental 
remediation related to modernizations, renovations, or 
improvements described above.

 TITLE II--SUPPLEMENTAL GRANTS FOR LOUISIANA, MISSISSIPPI, AND ALABAMA

Sec. 201. Purpose

    Indicates the purpose of grants under Title I is for 
modernizing, renovating, repairing, or constructing public 
kindergarten, elementary, and secondary educational facilities 
to address needs caused by damage resulting from Hurricane 
Katrina or Hurricane Rita.

Sec. 202. Allocation to States

    Directs the Secretary to allocate funds to Louisiana, 
Mississippi, and Alabama based on the number of schools in each 
State that were closed for sixty or more days between August 
29, 2005 and December 31, 2005 as a result of Hurricane Katrina 
or Hurricane Rita.
    Allows each State to reserve up to one-half of one percent 
of its allocation under Title II for administration of Title 
II.
    Directs each State to allocate funds to local educational 
agencies within the State based on the number of schools in 
each agency that were closed for sixty or more days between 
August 29, 2005 and December 31, 2005 as a result of Hurricane 
Katrina or Hurricane Rita.
    Requires the Secretary to distribute funds to States within 
thirty days of the Department's appropriation and requires 
States to distribute funds to local educational agencies within 
thirty days of having received them from the Secretary.

Sec. 203. Allowable uses of funds

    Includes the same list of allowable uses of funds as 
section 103, but also allows local educational agencies to use 
Title II funds for construction of new facilities.

                     TITLE III--GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sec. 301. Impermissible uses of funds

    Prohibits funds received under this Act from being used for 
maintenance or stadiums or similar facilities.

Sec. 302. Supplement, not supplant

    Requires local educational agencies receiving funds under 
this Act to use such funds to supplement, and not supplant, 
funds that otherwise would be used for the same purposes.

Sec. 303. Maintenance of effort

    Allows only local educational agencies with at least a 
ninety percent maintenance of effort with respect to the 
provision of a free public education from the previous fiscal 
year to receive funds under this Act.

Sec. 304. Special rule on contracting

    Requires a local educational agency that receives funds 
under this Act and that carries out projects through a contract 
to ensure that the bidding process consist of the maximum 
number of qualified bidders, including local, small, minority, 
women- and veteran-owned businesses, through full and open 
competition.

Sec. 305. Application of GEPA

    States that the Davis-Bacon labor law provisions apply to 
any funds received under this Act.

Sec. 306. Green schools

    Requires local educational agencies receiving funds under 
this Act to use at least half of such funds in fiscal year 2009 
(and increasing by ten percentage points per year, to ninety 
percent in fiscal year 2013) for public school modernizations, 
renovations, or repairs that meet specified ``green'' 
standards, including equivalent standards adopted by the State 
or local authority with jurisdiction over the agency.
    Requires the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary 
of Energy and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection 
Agency, to provide outreach and technical assistance to States 
and local educational agencies concerning best practices in 
school modernization, renovation, and repair, including those 
related to student academic achievement, student and staff 
health, energy efficiency, and environmental protection.

Sec. 307. Reporting

    Describes the reporting requirements applicable to local 
educational agencies, States, and the Secretary, and requires 
local educational agencies to make their reports publicly 
available, including on their website.

Sec. 308. Authorization of appropriations

    Authorizes $6,400,000,000 for Title I for fiscal year 2009 
and such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 2010 through 
2013. Authorizes $100,000,000 for Title II for each of the 
fiscal years 2009 through 2013.

                     VI. EXPLANATION OF AMENDMENTS

    The Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute is explained in 
the body of this report.

           VII. APPLICATION OF LAW TO THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

    Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1, the Congressional 
Accountability Act, requires a description of the application 
of this bill to the legislative branch. H.R. 3021, as amended, 
provides federal funding to help modernize and renovate public 
schools. The bill does not prevent legislative branch 
employees' coverage under this legislation.

                    VIII. UNFUNDED MANDATE STATEMENT

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act (as amended by Section 101(a)(2) of the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act, P.L. 104-4) requires a statement of 
whether the provisions of the reported bill include unfunded 
mandates. H.R. 3021, as amended, contains no intergovernmental 
or private-sector mandates as defined by the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act (UMRA).

                         IX. EARMARK STATEMENT

    H.R. 3021, as amended, does not contain any congressional 
earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as 
defined in clauses 9(d), 9(e) or 9(f) of rule XXI of the House 
of Representatives.


    XI. STATEMENT OF OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE 
                               COMMITTEE

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
2(b)(1) of rule X of the rules of the House of Representatives, 
the Committee's oversight findings and recommendations are 
reflected in the body of this report.

            XII. NEW BUDGET AUTHORITY AND CBO COST ESTIMATE

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule 
XIII of the House of Representatives and section 308(a) of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect to 
requirements of 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the House of 
Representatives and section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act 
of 1974, the Committee has received the following estimate for 
H.R. 3021, as amended, from the Director of the Congressional 
Budget Office:

H.R. 3021--21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities 
        Act

    H.R. 3021 would authorize the appropriation of $6.4 billion 
for fiscal year 2009 and such sums as may be necessary for 
fiscal years 2010 through 2013 to award grants to help 
modernize and renovate public schools. It also would authorize 
the appropriation of $100 million for each of fiscal years 2009 
through 2013 to help repair public schools damaged by 
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and to construct new schools.
    As shown in the following table, CBO estimates that H.R. 
3021 would increase discretionary spending by $20.3 billion 
over the 2009-2013 period. For this estimate, CBO assumes that 
$33.7 billion would be appropriated over that period and that 
outlays would follow historical patterns of similar programs. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 500 
(education, training, employment, and social services). The 
bill would have no impact on direct spending or revenues.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                               -----------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                         2009-
                                                   2009       2010       2011       2012       2013       2013
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Title I:
    Estimated Authorization Level.............      6,400      6,513      6,639      6,765      6,891     33,208
    Estimated Outlays.........................        320      2,246      4,846      5,895      6,647     19,954
Title II:
    Authorization Level.......................        100        100        100        100        100        500
    Estimated Outlays.........................          5         35         76         90        100        306
    Total:
        Estimated Authorization Level.........      6,500      6,613      6,739      6,865      6,991     33,708
        Estimated Outlays.....................        325      2,281      4,922      5,985      6,747     20,260
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    H.R. 3021 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments. State, local, and tribal governments could benefit 
from the grants authorized by this bill.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Justin Humphrey. 
This estimate was approved by Keith Fontenot, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Health and Human Resources, Budget Analysis 
Division.

      XIII. STATEMENT OF GENERAL PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

    In accordance with clause 3(c) of rule XIII of the House of 
Representatives, the goal of H.R. 3021 is to provide grants to 
help modernize and renovate public schools. The Committee 
expects the Department of Education to comply with H.R. 3021 
and implement the changes to the law in accordance with these 
stated goals.

                XIV. CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT

    Under clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee must include a statement citing 
the specific powers granted to Congress in the Constitution to 
enact the law proposed by H.R. 2669. The Committee believes 
that the amendments made by this bill are within Congress' 
authority under Article I, section 8, clause 18 of the U.S. 
Constitution.

                         XV. COMMITTEE ESTIMATE

    Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the House of Representatives 
requires an estimate and a comparison of the costs that would 
be incurred in carrying out H.R. 3021. However, clause 
3(d)(3)(B) of that rule provides that this requirement does not 
apply when the Committee has included in its report a timely 
submitted cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of 
the Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act.

       XVI. CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the House of 
Representatives, there are no changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported.

                     XVII. COMMITTEE CORRESPONDENCE

    None.

  MINORITY VIEWS ON H.R. 3021, THE 21ST CENTURY GREEN HIGH-PERFORMING 
                      PUBLIC SCHOOL FACILITIES ACT

                              INTRODUCTION

    Over the past decade, the condition of local public school 
facilities has become an important component of the education 
debate in communities throughout the nation. In both cities and 
suburbs, students, parents, teachers, and many public officials 
argue that school buildings are overcrowded, unsafe, and 
obsolete. As a result, the amount being spent on school 
construction, modernization, and renovation has become a 
significant issue in many states and local school districts.
    While strongly supportive of public education, 
historically, the federal government has had an extremely 
limited, almost non-existent role in financing school 
infrastructure projects and facility improvement programs, 
which have been a state and local responsibility. The most 
substantial attempts to fund school construction at the federal 
level were during the 1930s and 1940s as part of the Public 
Works Administration. At that time, the federal government 
contributed $611 million to build schools and help eliminate 
the high unemployment rates of that era.
    Since that time, the federal commitment to school 
construction has been generally limited to building and 
repairing schools using Impact Aid funds or building/repairing 
schools on Indian reservations through the Bureau of Indian 
Affairs. Both of these programs focus on children who 
historically have been a federal responsibility--children 
living on military bases and children living on Indian 
reservations.
    The federal government has chosen to maintain this limited 
role in school construction while focusing on adequately 
funding programs that increase student achievement, primarily 
through the Title I program for low-income students, and on 
helping states provide a free, appropriate public education to 
those students with special needs under the Individuals with 
Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
    For more than 40 years, Congress has deliberately limited 
the scope of federal intervention in K-12 education to focus on 
efforts to increase student achievement and ensure educational 
equality. That is, until Democrats on the House Education and 
Labor Committee quickly took up and passed legislation creating 
a new and massive federal school construction program to be 
administered through the U.S. Department of Education. The 
bill, H.R. 3021, the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public 
School Facilities Act, would undermine efforts to increase 
funding for the Title I program and IDEA, weaken efforts at the 
state level to fund school construction, significantly increase 
the cost of elementary and secondary schools, and dramatically 
expand the size and scope of the federal government.
H.R. 3021 undermines Congress' ability to fully fund the Title I 
        program for low-income students and IDEA
    Since passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act 
of 1965, the federal government has spent more than $321 
billion in federal funds provided by the American taxpayer on 
public elementary and secondary education.
    An overwhelming majority of this funding has been directed 
toward two primary programs that the federal government 
operates to improve student achievement--(1) Title I grants to 
local educational agencies (LEAs)/school districts under the 
Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which authorizes 
federal aid to state and local educational agencies for helping 
low-income and other disadvantaged children achieve to the same 
high state academic achievement standards as their peers and 
(2) state grants for the Individuals with Disabilities 
Education Act, which authorizes funds to help states and LEAs 
provide special education and related services for children 
with disabilities.
    Over the last five decades, the federal government has 
deliberately focused its attention and funding on these 
programs and others that provide assistance to states and 
school districts to help them improve student academic 
achievement and to comply with federal mandates that come with 
educating students with special needs. This targeted focus 
reflects the recognition that states and local communities have 
the primary responsibility to set public policy over education, 
particularly public K-12 education.
    In an effort to put the federal share of education funding 
in context, consider the amount of funding spent on education-
related activities on a yearly basis. In 2006, public school 
systems received $474.2 billion in funding from state and local 
sources to educate students in their communities. As such, 
states and localities provided more funding in one year for 
education-related matters than the federal government has 
provided in 43 years. The federal government is responsible for 
only about nine percent of annual K-12 education spending, with 
state governments contributing 47 percent of funding to public 
school systems, followed by local sources at 44 percent.
    Recognizing the historical role of states and local 
governments in providing an overwhelming majority of education 
funding and the federal government's focus on academic 
programs, it is no surprise that the federal government has had 
an extremely limited, almost non-existent role in financing 
school infrastructure projects and facility improvement 
programs.
    By passing H.R. 3021 and creating a new massive federal 
school construction program, Congressional. Democrats have 
weakened Congress' ability to focus on current priorities and 
backed away from the federal focus on adequately funding 
programs that increase student achievement. This undermines 
Congress' ability to direct greater resources toward the Title 
I program, which provides assistance to states and local school 
districts so that they can help low-income students meet 
proficiency standards in reading and math. It also undercuts 
efforts toward meeting the federal funding promised to school 
districts under IDEA to educate special education students. In 
addition, it undermines the authority and decision-making 
ability of state and local officials who are in a better 
position to tailor programs to more closely meet their 
students' unique needs and priorities.
H.R. 3021 undermines state and local responsibility on school 
        construction
    In order to gain a sense of what a meaningful federal 
investment in this area would entail, it is important to 
examine the projected needs and costs of school construction at 
the state and local levels. While accurate estimates are 
difficult to obtain, the U.S. Department of Education and the 
U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) have attempted to 
project the needs and costs of school construction. However, it 
should be noted that much of the data on which both 
organizations relied was from selfreporting of construction 
needs by school superintendents and other officials. There has 
been no comprehensive independent analysis, such as by an 
independent assessor.
    According to a report recently released by the U.S. 
Department of Education's National Center for Education 
Statistics (NCES) entitled Public School Principals Report on 
Their School Facilities: Fall 2005, the unmet need for school 
construction and renovation is estimated at $112 billion, with 
threequarters of the nation's schools reporting a need for 
funds to bring their buildings into a ``good overall 
condition.'' It is also estimated that states and localities 
need $11 billion simply to comply with federal mandates to 
remove or correct hazardous substances such as asbestos, lead 
paint, and radon.
    It is also important to examine how different states vary 
in their level of commitment to local districts for school 
construction. According to the School Planning and Management's 
2008 School Construction Report, school construction valued at 
an estimated $20.8 billion was completed in 2007, up from $20.1 
billion in 2006. This marks the seventh year in the last eight 
that annual construction exceeded $20 billion. From the 2007 
construction level, an estimated $13.1 billion went into the 
design and construction of new schools, with the remainder of 
the money for renovation and additions to existing school 
buildings. The percentage of construction dollars, according to 
the report, spent on new buildings was the highest since 1979. 
According to the report, during the past eight years, school 
districts have completed construction projects totaling more 
than $166 billion.
    With statistics showing that the unmet need for school 
construction and renovation is estimated at $112 billion and 
that states and local school districts spend an average of 
$20.7 billion annually on school construction, it's a valid 
question to wonder how a new federal school construction 
program administered by the U.S. Department of Education (which 
received roughly $22 billion last year for all programs under 
the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education) could do a 
better job at building schools than state and local officials. 
In order to even make a dent in existing school construction 
needs, any federal school construction program would have to be 
funded at double or triple the Department's current budget for 
K-12 programs.
H.R. 3021 dramatically increases the cost of building elementary and 
        secondary schools
    One of the most troubling aspects of a massive new federal 
school construction program authorized through H.R. 3021 is 
that it will be subject to the requirements of the Depression-
era Davis-Bacon Act, which requires construction projects be 
paid using flawed ``prevailing wages'' and favors union wage 
workers. Under the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), all 
laborers on all construction projects assisted under any 
program administered by the U.S. Department of Education must 
be paid wages at rates not less than those prevailing on 
similar construction in the locality as determined by the 
Secretary of Labor in accordance with the Davis-Bacon Act.
    The law was originally passed in 1935 to ensure that the 
government's buying power did not drive down construction 
workers' wages during the Great Depression. Decades later, 
these prevailing wage rates have been proven to be 
fundamentally flawed, often bearing no relation to market 
wages. Still, they persist in adding bureaucratic complexity to 
federally-funded construction projects, including the 
administrative burden of weekly wage data filing. As such, any 
federal intervention into school construction carries with it 
significant burdens of costs and time consuming paperwork.
    A number of studies have confirmed the flaws inherent in 
Davis-Bacon wage calculations, and point out that projects 
conducted under the requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act 
commonly cost between 22 and 26 percent more when compared to 
similar projects completed under market conditions. For 
example, the Beacon Hill Institute recently completed a study 
on the effects of paying Davis-Bacon inflated wages in public 
construction projects and found that when the Davis-Bacon 
mandated wages were followed, labor costs rose by 22 percent 
above the reported median wage, while overall construction 
costs went up 10 percent (which means that almost 10 percent of 
the total construction cost of a new school would be 
attributable to mandates imposed under the Davis-Bacon Act). In 
total, the study reports that Davis-Bacon costs taxpayers over 
$8.6 billion annually--enough money to hire over 18,000 
teachers.
    If we examine the impact that the Davis-Bacon Act has on 
specific states around the country, the costs for imposing 
Davis-Bacon and relevant savings from exempting Davis-Bacon 
from school construction projects are staggering. In 2002, a 
study from researchers working for the Ohio General Assembly 
determined that rescinding prevailing wage requirements for the 
state's school construction program saved the state's residents 
and taxpayers more than $488 million in aggregate school 
construction costs during the post-examination period, an 
overall savings of 10.7 percent. In particular, the state of 
Ohio saved $24.6 million in new construction project costs (1.2 
percent), $408 million in school building additions (19.9 
percent), and $55.2 million in school building alterations 
(10.7 percent). The state also estimated that it saved $310.5 
million in urban counties and $177.4 million in rural counties 
by exempting the state's school construction program from the 
Davis-Bacon Act. The study also found indications that the 
exemption had little impact on the quality of public school 
building construction. In surveys conducted of school 
officials, the users of the buildings indicated that they were 
satisfied with the buildings and provided no evidence that the 
exemption decreased the quality of school construction.
    In 1982, the Kentucky State Legislature excluded school 
construction from prevailing wage requirements based on a study 
that found that eliminating school construction from the 
artificial constraints of prevailing wage legislation would 
result in considerable savings with ``amounts at least in the 
tens of millions, if not in the hundreds of millions, each 
year.'' As a result of this change, the state estimated that it 
realized a cost savings on school construction of 11 percent 
annually. In 1996, Kentucky reinstated its requirement that 
school construction projects be subjected to prevailing wages, 
even though the state projected that it would increase 
taxpayers' cost of school construction by $35 million per year. 
By January of 2002, the Kentucky Legislative Research 
Commission released a study that showed that Davis-Bacon 
increased the cost of construction by 24 percent. In addition, 
a 2007 study from Michigan's nonprofit Mackinac Center found 
that exempting public school districts from the state's 
government-set wage scheme would reap an expected annual 
savings of approximately $125 million.
    Just as important, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) 
and the U.S. Government Accountability Office have weighed in 
on this important issue. CBO estimates that the federal 
government could save more than $10.5 billion in construction 
costs if it were to repeal the Davis-Bacon Act. It also found 
that the Davis-Bacon Act contributes to the backlog of 
maintenance projects on the federal level, because, ``by 
raising labor costs, the act reduces the amount of maintenance 
that can be accomplished within a given budget.'' The GAO is 
also on record in stating that the Davis-Bacon Act is, ``not 
susceptible to practical and effective administration'' by the 
Department of Labor and that Davis-Bacon has resulted in 
unnecessary construction and administration costs, inflated 
prices, and inaccurate wages.
    This information makes it hard to doubt that Davis-Bacon 
Act ``prevailing wages'' would inflate the costs of building 
our children's schools and threaten salaries for teachers and 
in-class dollars for technology, textbooks, and supplies. 
Subjecting new school construction projects to Davis-Bacon 
wages is unnecessary and will force local school districts to 
divert scarce funds away from teachers and students.
    One partial remedy to this situation has been proposed by 
the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General 
(OIG) and numerous experts. They argue that Congress should 
amend the law to require the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. 
Department of Labor to base Davis-Bacon wages on accurate and 
scientifically valid surveys conducted by the Bureau of Labor 
Statistics (BLS). In 2004, for example, the OIG reported that 
``inaccurate survey data, potential bias, and untimely 
decisions are continuing concerns'' and that these problems 
``affect the validity and usefulness of Davis-Bacon wage 
surveys,'' The Office of Management and Budget also reported 
that Davis-Bacon's flawed wage determinations may 
``[contravene] the intent of the act not to undermine local 
wage and benefits standards. ``
    Researchers at Suffolk University have backed up this claim 
by comparing the current Wage and Hour Division's Davis-Bacon 
prevailing wage determinations and those from BLS and found 
that the current method inflates wages by 22 percent on 
average, which significantly increases the cost of building 
schools, and costing taxpayers $8.6 billion each year.
    They also found that many construction employees are 
actually underpaid by using the flawed determination method set 
by the WHD instead of BLS figures. For instance, employees in 
Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Virginia, and Maine are some 
of those Americans who get cheated by the current system's 
shortcomings.
    In some cities, the wage determinations are more than 75 
percent above market wages. In other cities, they are just one-
third of market wages. In some states, Davis-Bacon rates are 
actually below the minimum wage. These wage determinations 
simply do not reflect prevailing market wages and this failure 
has serious implications for construction workers and 
taxpayers.
    Presenting a perspective from the local school official 
level, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) conducted 
and released a study in 1999 that found that at least 38 states 
would have to endure significantly increased school 
construction costs if Davis-Bacon were imposed on their state 
and local school construction bonds under any possible federal 
legislation in this area. The report detailed the fact that 
approximately 25 states have no state prevailing wage laws or 
specifically exempt school construction, and another 15 states 
have thresholds for prevailing wage applicability that are 
higher than the federal law, which is currently at $2,000. An 
earlier NSBA study in 1995 found that more than 60 percent of 
respondents said federal or state Davis-Bacon laws were 
responsible for increasing the cost of a recent construction 
project and over half said the increase was as much as 20 
percent.
    These concerns were detailed in a letter that NSBA sent, 
along with the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), the 
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Independent Electrical 
Contractors, and the National Federation of Independent 
Businesses (NFIB) on February 12, 2008 to the House Education 
and Labor Committee in which they urged Congress to:

          . . . refrain from imposing costly Davis-Bacon Act 
        requirements on school construction projects until 
        serious flaws with that law's wage determination 
        process are fixed.
          Federal authorities have concluded that Davis-Bacon 
        wage rates are inaccurate. A series of audits by 
        outside agencies, as well as the Department of Labor's 
        (DOL) own Office of Inspector General (OIG), have 
        revealed substantial inaccuracies in Davis-Bacon Act 
        wage determinations and suggested they are vulnerable 
        to fraud. In addition, DOL's OIG released three reports 
        highly critical of the wage determination program. In 
        fact, one report from 2004 found one or more errors in 
        nearly 100 percent of the wage surveys reviewed. 
        Expanding a wage determination process that has been 
        proven to be flawed is unfair to the American taxpayer 
        and American businesses, as well as parents and 
        students who see scarce resources used inefficiently.
          Davis-Bacon's wage determination flaws harm the very 
        employees the law was intended to protect. Research 
        from the Heritage Foundation found that Tampa Bay area 
        electricians are underpaid by 38 percent under Davis-
        Bacon's system when compared to the more statistically 
        sound wage determination method used by the Bureau of 
        Labor Statistics. Forthcoming academic research will 
        provide further evidence from urban areas across the 
        nation.
          Davis-Bacon also has a negative impact on equal 
        access to work opportunities. It prevents many 
        qualified small and minority-owned businesses from even 
        bidding on public projects, because the complexities 
        and inefficiencies in the Act make it nearly impossible 
        for small businesses to compete. As a result, few 
        minority firms win Davis-Bacon contracts, and many 
        others give up trying. That is not a lesson any of us 
        want to teach our children.
          Finally, Davis-Bacon's flaws will cost taxpayers more 
        to provide students with less. Davis-Bacon has been 
        shown to increase public construction costs by anywhere 
        from 5 percent to 38 percent above what the project 
        would have cost in the private sector. According to the 
        Congressional Budget Office, the Davis-Bacon Act 
        already costs taxpayers more than $9.5 billion over the 
        2002-2011 period relative to the 2001 appropriations 
        and $10.5 billion relative to 2001 appropriations 
        adjusted for inflation. Any Davis-Bacon costs from 
        legislation your committee considers will be directly 
        passed on to the American taxpayers in these school 
        districts, coming at the direct expense of education 
        dollars for children in classrooms.''

    Given all of this information, it is clear that H.R. 3021 
will dramatically raise the costs of school construction at the 
state and local level. At a time when state and local budgets 
are tightening or, in some cases, being cut because of economic 
downturn, Congress should not impose this unnecessary and 
outdated mandate on local school districts, which will only 
overinflate school construction prices, limit competition, and 
reduce jobs for entry-level workers.

Committee consideration of H.R. 3021 rejected amendments that would 
        have improved the bill

    On April 30, 2008, the House Education and Labor Committee 
met to mark-up H.R. 3021, the 21st Century Green High-
Performing Public School Facilities Act. Consideration of the 
legislation came after just a single hearing on school 
construction that provided no opportunity to question the 
expert witnesses that were called before the Committee. As has 
become all too common, the bill was brought directly before the 
Full Committee, circumventing the Subcommittee on Early 
Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education and preventing 
Committee members on both sides of the aisle from engaging in a 
thorough and open debate on issues that impact our nation's 
schools.
    During consideration of H.R. 3021, Committee Republicans 
offered a number of amendments to blunt some of the most 
objectionable and potentially harmful provisions of the bill. 
Unfortunately, all of the amendments were rejected or blocked 
from even receiving a vote by the majority.
    The amendments offered by Committee Republicans to improve 
the bill included:
    Senior Republican Member Buck McKeon (R-CA) offered an 
amendment to exempt the new school construction program from 
the provisions of the Davis-Bacon Act. As outlined above, 
Committee Republicans strongly believe that adding federal wage 
rules to school construction, as H.R. 3021 would do, 
significantly drives up construction costs, draining resources 
that could otherwise be used to educate children. Every federal 
dollar that Congress spends on inflated construction costs is a 
dollar that cannot be spent on helping disadvantaged children 
learn to read, or do math, or get the extra help they need to 
achieve on par with their more advantaged peers. The bill, 
which applies Davis-Bacon provisions to all new federal school 
construction, will add to the cost of building and renovating 
schools; it will add paperwork burdens for the private sector; 
and it will drive women- and minority-owned businesses away 
from these projects. Even though the McKeon amendment would 
have protected students and taxpayers alike by avoiding the 
needless waste of resources, it was rejected by a vote of 16-
27.
    Congressman Mike Castle (R-DE) offered an amendment to 
require the Title I program for low-income students and the 
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to be fully 
funded before federal resources can be redirected to support a 
new federal school construction program. Committee Republicans 
believe that H.R. 3021 will weaken the federal focus on funding 
programs that increase student achievement, mainly through the 
Title I program for low-income students and IDEA. This would 
undermine Congress' ability to redirect greater resources 
toward the Title I program which provides assistance to states 
and local school districts so that they can help low-income 
students meet proficiency standards in reading and math and 
towards meeting the federal funding promised to school 
districts under IDEA to educate special education students.
    Under No Child Left Behind, Congress authorized $25 billion 
for the Title I program that provides financial assistance to 
local educational agencies and schools with high numbers or 
high percentages of poor children to help ensure that all 
children meet challenging state academic standards. Last year, 
the Democrat-controlled Congress provided $14.3 billion for the 
Title I program, more than $10 billion below the authorized 
funding level. Under the Individuals with Disabilities 
Education Act (IDEA), Congress promised states and local school 
districts that it would provide 40% of the excess costs of 
educating children with disabilities to ensure that they 
receive a free appropriate public education. Last year, the 
Democrat-controlled Congress provided $10.9 billion for IDEA. 
Although appropriations for IDEA grants to states have 
increased significantly over the last decade, funding still 
falls short of the amount that would be necessary to provide 
maximum grants to all states; some estimates conclude that 
appropriated amounts only account for 17.2% of excess costs. 
Even though the Castle amendment would ensure that Congress 
keeps making progress toward meeting the funding goals for both 
the Title I program for low-income students and IDEA, it was 
rejected by a vote of 20-24.
    Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT) offered an amendment to 
ensure that public charter schools are treated in the same 
manner as other public schools under the federal school 
construction program. Committee Republicans strongly support 
charter schools, which are public schools created by teachers, 
parents, and other members of the community to educate students 
and to stimulate reform in the public school system. In 
exchange for greater accountability for student achievements, 
these schools are exempt from many local and state regulations 
and are usually among the top performers in big city school 
districts. Unfortunately, public charter schools are 
significantly underfunded when compared to traditional public 
schools, falling short of traditional public school funding by 
22%. Even though the Bishop amendment would have ensured that 
public charter schools were provided with equitable access to 
facilities assistance under H.R. 3021, it was rejected by a 
vote of 19-25.
    Congressman John Kline (R-MN) offered an amendment to 
require each local educational agency that receives funding 
under H.R. 3021 to provide, on a request made by military 
recruiters or an institution of higher education, access to 
secondary student information. As a condition of receiving 
federal funds, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires 
local schools that receive federal funds under the Elementary 
and Secondary Education Act to provide military recruiters, 
upon request, with access to students and to basic student 
contact information such as names, addresses, telephone 
numbers. It allows the nation's Armed Forces Recruiters the 
same access to high school students as that provided to college 
recruiters and job recruiters. Committee Republicans strongly 
believe that we must ensure that local educational agencies 
that want access to federal funds in order to meet their school 
construction needs are following the law that allows military 
recruiters access to secondary school students' information. 
Even though the Kline amendment would have protected the rights 
of our nation's Armed Forces and helped students interested in 
pursuing a military career, it was blocked trom receiving a 
vote.
    Congressman Tom Price (R-GA) offered an amendment to 
require local educational agencies to conduct an independent 
audit by a third-party entity substantiating the overall 
condition of their public school facilities. As discussed 
above, there has never been a comprehensive independent audit 
or analysis, such as one conducted by an independent assessor, 
on the nation's school construction needs. Thus, it is 
difficult to ascertain the true construction and maintenance 
needs at the state and local level. Committee Republicans 
believe that, in order to address this situation, a system is 
needed to independently and accurately assess the state of our 
nation's elementary and secondary schools and to guide how 
resources would be allocated under this bill. Even though the 
Price amendment would have ensured that local educational 
agencies obtain the necessary expertise on the condition of 
their local schools and what is needed to ensure that all 
students are educated in safe and clean environments, it was 
defeated by a vote of 18-26.
    Congressman Tom Price (R-GA) also offered an amendment to 
prohibit the earmarking of federal school construction funds 
under this new program through the appropriations process. 
Committee Republicans believe that if Congress is going to 
create a new school construction program, it should, at a 
minimum, ensure that federal funds are channeled to the schools 
that have the greatest need, rather than earmarked to benefit 
those with political connections or paid lobbyists. Even though 
the amendment would have ensured that federal funds would 
continue to be allocated to states based on a poverty-driven 
formula, not on the whims of the leadership of the Congress, it 
was defeated by a vote of 21-25.
    Congressman Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) offered an amendment to 
prohibit states and local educational agencies that receive 
funding under the federal school construction program to 
purchase carbon offsets. While purchasing carbon offsets may 
make school administrators feel good, there is no 
accountability or commonly accepted standards available to 
judge the quality of carbon offsets. Even though the Ehlers 
amendment would have restricted the use of carbon offsets, it 
was rejected by a vote of 21-25.
    Congressman David Davis (R-TN) offered an amendment to 
require a local educational agency that receives funds under 
H.R. 3021 to certify in writing to the state educational agency 
that it is complying with the school prayer provisions included 
in current law. NCLB denies federal funds to any local school 
district that prevents or otherwise denies participation in 
constitutionally-protected school prayer. Committee Republicans 
strongly believe that we must ensure that local educational 
agencies that want access to federal funds in order to meet 
their school construction needs are following the law that 
allows students and teachers in public schools across the 
nation to voluntarily pray. Even though the Davis amendment 
would have upheld the right to voluntary prayer, which is vital 
to protecting the free exercise of religion, it was not even 
allowed to come to a vote.

                               CONCLUSION

    As outlined in these Minority Views, the primary 
responsibility for school construction has historically been 
and should remain at the state and local school and school 
district levels.
    While members of the House Education and Labor Committee 
continue to receive feedback from some interest groups that our 
nation's elementary and secondary schools need funds for school 
construction and facilities repair and renovation projects, 
other schools may have a need to hire more teachers, to provide 
8 additional instructional programs to improve student 
achievement for low-income students under the Title I program 
or to provide needed services for special education students 
under IDEA. As such, the limited role of the federal government 
should remain focused on assisting local schools and school 
districts in raising student achievement.
    The effort to maintain the federal focus on assisting 
states and local school districts in improving student academic 
achievement is far more realistic and practical than enacting a 
massive and unproven federal school construction program, which 
would cost the federal government more than $100 billion to 
cover the cost of repairing obsolete and out-of-date schools. 
This staggering funding level is almost double the Department's 
current discretionary budget for all of its programs and 
activities. Maintaining the current federal focus would also 
provide the maximum amount of flexibility in the use of federal 
funds so that schools have the full ability to tailor 
additional funding resources to their particular needs. Local 
schools and school districts must have the flexibility to use 
federal funds in the way in which each local school believes 
will improve student academic performance.
    Equally as troubling, any federal school construction 
program is subject to the requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act. 
It is estimated that this requirement dramatically raises the 
costs of school construction by as much as one-third in some 
parts of the country, especially in those local communities 
that have lower costs and are not subject to the flawed 
prevailing wage structure.
    Committee Republicans believe that H.R. 3021 and any 
federal school construction program would undermine efforts to 
increase funding for the Title I program and IDEA, weaken 
efforts at the state and local levels to fund school 
construction, dramatically increase the cost of elementary and 
secondary schools because of the new Davis-Bacon requirements, 
and dramatically expand the size and scope of the federal 
government.
    Because of these alarming facts, it is prudent--indeed it 
is essential--that Congress reject any attempt to create a new 
federal school construction program. Congress owes it to the 
American people--students, parents, and taxpayers alike--to set 
our nation's priorities, to keep our promises to low-income 
students and students with disabilities, and to keep school 
construction costs affordable for states and local communities 
around the nation.

                                   Howard P. McKeon.
                                   Peter Hoekstra.
                                   Mark Souder.
                                   Ric Keller.
                                   Joe Wilson.
                                   John Kline.
                                   Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
                                   Kenney Marchant.
                                   Thomas Price.
                                   C.W. Boustany, Jr.
                                   Virginia Foxx.
                                   Rob Bishop.
                                   David Davis.
                                   Tim Walberg.