NEW YORK — Rep. Jamaal Bowman on Saturday called for a bold stimulus for K-12 schools in order to ensure a healthy, sustainable recovery for our education system in wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the impacts of the climate crisis.

Referencing new research from experts at the University of Pennsylvania and the climate + community project (ccp), Bowman’s proposal would create hundreds of thousands of good, unionized jobs every year, and transform our educational system in low-resourced and vulnerable school districts.

The plan proposes investing a total of $1.16 trillion over 10 years including:

  • $250 billion over 10 years for Climate Capital Facilities Grants to fund retrofits in high-need public school facilities to eradicate toxic materials such as lead, mold, and asbestos, and install new, energy efficient HVAC systems.
  • $250 billion over 10 years for Resource Block Grants for high-need schools to hire substantially more teachers, mental health workers, and guidance counselors, and to expand social service programming, and address historical inequities in school funding at the regional level.
  • $66 billion annually in Expanded Title I and IDEA Annual Funding for operational support for high-need schools.

Akira Drake Rodriguez, a planning professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of ccp, led the research for the Green Stimulus for K-12 Schools brief, which can be viewed here.

“Our schools, like so many parts of our infrastructure, are crumbling across the country,” Bowman said. “Healing our schools can and should be central to our fight to achieve environmental, racial and economic justice. I’m proud of the vision we’ve put forth to make a transformative investment in our children and their education as we enter into our climate future. Our hope is that this will serve as a blueprint for the start of a new era of sustainable infrastructure — one which puts kids, their learning and their well-being at the focus of everything we do.”

“After decades of disinvestment and marginalization, our K-12 public schools are in need of substantial investment from the federal government to address educational equity, environmental equity, and economic equity,” Rodriguez said. “We need to heal these fractures across communities, school districts, and states that have struggled to support one of our most critical pieces of infrastructure. By investing in green retrofits for aging facilities and funding to expand educational opportunity and access, we hope to give school districts and local communities the capacity to reimagine and transform public education.”

The climate + community project (ccp) is a new network of social scientists, lawyers, and policy experts conducting cutting-edge qualitative and quantitative research to support a justice-based Green New Deal. Their co-founders Daniel Aldana Cohen and Billy Fleming led the research for the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in late 2019. Several of their members have been leading advocates of a Green Stimulus response to the COVID-19 economic crash since March 2020.

Click here to read the full Green Stimulus for K-12 Schools brief.