Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack, a Democrat from Mount Vernon, says his bill that would provide federal money to helps schools modernize and become greener has passed it’s initial stage. Loebsack says the bill now needs to move forward in the budget process.
Loebsack says they’ll take up the appropriations process related to the bill sometime this summer. Loebsack says the bill could eventually send 35-million dollars to Iowa to help schools. He says every district would get a minimum of $5,000, which he says is not a lot of money, but would allow a district to figure out their needs and work on a plan to leverage other sources of money for building improvements.
Loebsack says this bill would follow a program created by Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, which gave grant money to schools for improvements. The Clear Creek Amana School District won at 500-thousand dollar grant in 2006 under the senate program. Clear Creek superintendent Paula Vincent says that grant was key in leveraging local money.
Vincent says the grant help them pass a 25-and a half million dollar bond issue to build two new schools, as the district had not had a history of passing bond issues for school improvement. And the district had never passed a bond issue on the first vote. Vincent says the federal money was one of the reasons voters said they supported the bond issue.
Vincent says there are 32 schools in the Cedar Rapids area and she knows every single one could use some money for buildings. She says most have extensive projects, it’s just a matter of waiting for funding. Vincent says there a miles of roofs and acres of parking lots to take care of, and it’s a constant struggle to come up with the funds. Loebsack says he’s hopeful he can find the support to push the measure ahead.