77th Annual Meeting

MAKING GREEN SCHOOLS A REALITY

WHEREAS, more than twenty percent of America - including our students, faculty, staff, and administrators - spends their day in a school building; and

WHEREAS, America's nearly 100,000 K-12 public schools are in desperate need of rehabilitation with school-infrastructure needs exceeding $250 billion, according to a 2008 study released by the American Federation of Teachers; and

WHEREAS, in 2007 The United States Conference of Mayors led the green schools movement by passing a seminal resolution to ensure that in a generation every child in America will attend a green school; and

WHEREAS, more than 60 Members of Congress have joined the bipartisan Congressional Green Schools Caucus in the House of Representatives, formed in 2007 with the aim of raising awareness of the benefits of green schools, leading the federal policy discussion in various forums and creating legislative opportunities for the collective efforts of the caucus members; and

WHEREAS, given the significant role of state legislation in addressing public school infrastructure, six state lawmakers launched the "50 For 50" Green Schools Caucus Initiative in 2008 to encourage and support the formation of a green schools caucus in every state legislature in the country within two years; and

WHEREAS, mayors across the country have urged their respective governors to join them in a commitment to advance green schools, working to ensure that the appropriated State Fiscal Stabilization funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 are dedicated to green school modernization efforts; and

WHEREAS, children in green schools are healthier and more productive because green schools emphasize excellence in areas such as daylighting, thermal comfort, and classroom design -- all of which have been shown to improve children's well- being and ability to learn; and

WHEREAS, the benefits of cleaner indoor air quality -- a key emphasis of green schools -- have been linked to lower asthma rates, fewer allergies, reduced absenteeism, and increased teacher retention rates; and

WHEREAS, green schools provide a learning experience that transcends the classroom by using the built environment as a context for learning, encouraging environmental literacy and hands-on, project-based learning; and

WHEREAS, greening existing schools using tools like the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building rating system significantly improve human, environmental, and economic health; and

WHEREAS, greening existing schools focus on low or no-cost operations and maintenance improvements, such as implementing water efficiency measures, green cleaning programs, sustainable purchasing practices, recycling and waste reduction initiatives, and energy management plans that can save a school district millions of dollars a year in direct operating expenses; and

WHEREAS, schools embody our hopes and aspirations for the future and we make an important statement about our dedication to that future by building, repairing, and operating our schools in the most responsible and sustainable way possible,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors reconfirms its commitment to the goal that in a generation every child in America will attend a green school; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors endorses and is dedicated to working toward the passage of the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act (H.R. 2187), which would provide billions of dollars in funding to schools for much-needed green school repairs, retrofits, and modernizations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges Congress to commit additional research funding to evaluate, understand and enhance the environmental, economic and health benefits of green schools.