Virginia Senators Introduce Bill to Rehabilitate Nation’s Historic Schools

old_school_5January 29, 2010 – Senators Jim Webb (D-VA) and Mark Warner (D-VA) today introduced “The Rehabilitation of Historic Schools Act of 2010,” which provides a tax credit for communities to partner with private sector developers to rehabilitate the nation’s older school buildings.

“Many of our nation’s historic schools are in need of significant repairs,” said Senator Webb. “Rehabilitating schools will drive revitalization in some of our most economically vulnerable neighborhoods, while providing our students access to safe, modern schools.”

“Nearly one-third of our country’s public school buildings were built a half century ago, and this common-sense legislation will allow state and local   governments to leverage private capital to upgrade and modernize these facilities in a time of limited public resources,” Senator Warner said. “This simple change to the 1986 IRS Code supports public education and promotes economic activity and the creation of jobs.”

The bill would change a provision in the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit that currently restricts renovation of older public school buildings, limiting the ability of local governments to partner with private developers to rehabilitate schools.

In its 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave public school facilities a grade of “D.”   The ASCE noted that there is “ample evidence that local communities are struggling” to meet their responsibility for school infrastructure.

“With municipalities across the country unable to fund school repairs and construction, this bill will provide needed assistance, partner local government with the private sector, create jobs, and give our children the facilities they need to learn and grow,” said Webb.   “Good local schools and well-maintained public facilities are key indicators of where businesses may locate. This legislation strengthens our communities across the board.”

“The proposal introduced by Senators Webb and Warner has significant promise for future students in Virginia,” said Dr. Kitty Boitnott, President of the Virginia Education Association. “Many of the older buildings that will qualify are in inner-city and poor rural divisions where additional support for education is most needed.   This measure will make conversion of these buildings into 21st Century learning centers possible.   We are thankful to Senators Webb and Warner for their continued support of our schools.”

To view a copy of the legislation, please click here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/26047497/The-Rehabilitation-of-Historics-Schools-Act-of-2010

To view a fact sheet on the legislation, please click here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/26047593/Fact-Sheet-The-Rehabilitation-of-Historic-School-Act