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ATPE urges Congress to support school workers and facilities improvements under infrastructure plan

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

School Finance Congress | Federal COVID-19 Educator Compensation | Benefits

Date Posted: 10/22/2021

ATPE is urging members of the Texas delegation to support investments in public education included as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan pending before the U.S. Congress. Versions of HR 3684, the INVEST in America Act, have passed both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. The package is currently under negotiation.

In a letter sent this week to members of the Texas Congressional delegation, ATPE highlighted important components of the INVEST in America Act and President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan that the association wants to see included in the final legislative package.

"ATPE strongly supports provisions in the bipartisan Senate-passed bill that will allocate additional federal resources to schools to upgrade their facilities and equipment to meet the challenges of educating students in the 21st century,” said ATPE Executive Director Shannon Holmes. “We are encouraged that the bill includes funding for schools to expand access to broadband, improve their facilities’ air quality, and modernize school buses—issues that have had a disproportionate impact on low-income communities.”

Specific provisions of the INVEST in America Act supported by ATPE include funding for the following:

  • School Improvements: The measure would authorize $500 million over five years for a grant program for schools to make improvements that reduce energy costs, improve health and indoor air quality, or involve renewable energy technologies or alternative fueled vehicles.
  • Connectivity Grants: The bill would authorize $42.5 billion for a Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program within the Commerce Department that would provide grants to increase connectivity to underserved and high-cost areas.
  • Emergency Appropriations: Amounts set aside for specified activities for fiscal 2022 through 2026 would include $5 billion for clean and zero-emission school buses.
  • Clean School Buses and Ferries: The measure would authorize $5 billion over five years for the Environmental Protection Agency to award grants and rebates to replace school buses with zero-emission buses or EPA-certified buses that reduce emissions and use alternative fuels. Grant recipients would include state and local government agencies, contractors, or nonprofit school transportation associations. The EPA would prioritize applicants from school districts that serve a high percentage of children from low-income families.

Additionally, ATPE has been urging Congress to include elements of the president’s Build Back Better Plan that would provide needed support for educators, including many lower-paid school support staff, as well as investments in student success. Some of the administration’s human infrastructure priorities backed by ATPE include:

  • Extending paid leave to assist workers who are caring for a newborn or dealing with their own or a family member’s serious illness.
  • Funding universal Pre-K for all three- and four-year-old children and childcare subsidies for working families. The infrastructure bill proposes about $450 billion for these appropriations.
  • Investing in other school infrastructure improvements, student success grants, and educator quality initiatives, such as scholarships for future teachers, teaching residency programs, and mentoring.

ATPE has long advocated for federal policy aimed at ensuring students have access to the infrastructure and supports needed to succeed in the classroom. We also recognize the need for investments to protect the health and livelihoods of all school workers, many of whom are at-will employees with lower-than-average wages who are struggling to support their families and deal with the additional challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the infrastructure negotiations reach a climax and ATPE’s Washington, D.C.-based federal lobby team continues to work on these issues, stay tuned to Teach the Vote for updates on the federal legislation.



Karen Hames

I love the end of the letter sent to Congressmen Gohmert suggesting he use ATPE as a resource. This organization continues to work smartly with our legislators, not attacking them.

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