Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack, a Democrat from Mount Vernon, is pushing two bills he says will help schools improve their buildings. Loebsack says the "Public School Repair and Renovation Act" would distribute 1.6 billion dollars to schools.
Loebsack says schools could use the federal money at the local level to leverage money to reconstruct their schools. Loebsack says 45 out of 61 rural schools in Iowa would be impacted by the program. The other bill would provide federal grants to states for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements at existing public school facilities.
Loebsack says this could include buying more efficient lighting and any number of other things to improve the school environment. He says "green technology" would reduce harmful emissions and lower energy costs. Loebsack says getting the money to make the switch to the green technology is often a big hurdle for schools.
He says for example using geo-thermal heating and cooling is costly up front, but there are in the long, he says the investment more than pays for itself. Loebsack cites Van Allen Elementary School in North Liberty Iowa is an example of a school that is seeing benefits from green technology. Loebsack says while these are two separate bills, the reconstruction and use of green technology could be worked together.