Press Release

Mayors Urge Passage of School Construction Bill Statement Says Schools' "State of Disrepair" Has "Dire Implications"

August 10, 2000

Tony Iallonardo

Read the full text of the letter sent by the Mayors to Congress.

Washington, DC -- The U.S. Conference of Mayors released today a letter signed by 89 mayors to the Senate Majority Leader and Speaker of the House that calls for passage of H.R. 4094, known as "America's Better Classrooms Act".

In their message, the Mayors say, "The dire need for school modernization is a critical national issue which deserves the immediate attention of the 106th Congress… All across America nearly 25,000 schools - almost one-third of all public school buildings - are in a serious state of disrepair."

The bill, introduced by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT), would make available $24.8 billion in bonds with the federal government picking up the tab for the interest through a tax credit. The five-year cost is estimated at $1.74 billion.

Sixty percent of the bond money would be divided up among states based on school-age population. Most of the rest would go to 125 school districts with the largest number of poor children. Additionally, $400 million would go to Bureau of Indian Affairs schools and $2.4 billion to expand an existing bond program for schools in empowerment zones.

The full text of the letter has been posted on the Conference's web site, or can be obtained by contacting the Conference's office of public affairs.

The U. S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are about 1,100 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the Mayor.