Media Release - October 28, 2021
Contact: Mary Filardo - [email protected] - 202-285-8947
Washington D.C. - October 28, 2021––The Re[Build] America's School Infrastructure Coalition (BASIC) is a nonprofit nonpartisan coalition made up of a diverse group of civic, education, labor, and industry organizations seeking to secure $100 billion in federal funding over 10 years to help under-served public school districts modernize and build K-12 public school facilities. The President and Congress have arrived at a framework for the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) that unfortunately excludes public school facilities, the second-largest public infrastructure sector after our nation’s highways and bridges. 

Mary Filardo, the Founder and President of the BASIC coalition stated: “We are deeply disappointed that funding to repair or replace crumbling schools in our most underserved communities has been left out of the final BBBA. Although taxpayers overwhelmingly support investments in PK-12 buildings and grounds, lawmakers have left this important priority on the cutting room floor.  In fact, a Politico Morning Consult poll revealed that 62 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of Independents, and 87 percent of Democrats, support a federal investment in school infrastructure. Investing in public education infrastructure locally has always been a bipartisan issue. It should be a bipartisan priority in Congress, as well.” 

Mary Filardo went on, "There is a misconception on the Hill that since school districts have been provided approximately $190 billion via the three COVID-19 relief bills that the nation’s K-12 needs have been, or will be, addressed by the time the money is spent in 2024. This is simply not true for several reasons:

  1. Nationally, school districts face a deficit of $85 billion every year for spending and investments needed just for their K-12 facilities, which is highlighted in the 2021 State of Our Schools Report: America’s PK-12 Public School Facilities, and remediating the deferred health, safety, environmental and educational improvements in the low wealth and high need districts would overwhelm other critical educational needs for ESSER funding.
  2. The ESSER funds appropriated in the three emergency bills  are designated with specific purposes to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with priority on providing support for instructional and administrative costs, not longstanding capital needs. 
  3. The deadlines for spending ESSER funds––September 2022, 2023, and 2024––are too short for well planned, designed, and constructed capital improvements that are needed to address decades of neglect. For example, the thousands of schools without mechanical heating, cooling or ventilation systems that need them, will be hard pressed to do the design, engineering, procurement, and  construction, particularly with supply chain issues throughout the construction industry ahead of the deadlines.

According to Filardo: “Without federal investment, millions of kids and their teachers in overburdened urban, low wealth rural and minority communities will continue to be exposed to mold, lead and asbestos contamination, leaky roofs and windows, HVAC systems that leave buildings too cold in the winter and too hot in the fall and spring.  All these conditions undercut health and the educators' ability to effectively teach and students' ability to learn. The disparities in conditions result in disparities in education delivered and student achievement. 

Deferring improvements to school buildings and grounds raises the costs and creates financial and environmental burdens which we pass onto future generations. Filardo continued “the reality is that without federal support our poorest, highest need and rural schools are often in most danger when it comes to flooding and simply unable to raise the funds needed to provide their children modern, safe, healthy, green, and resilient schools.” The failure to invest in school modernization is a failure to address climate change. 

BASIC calls on President Biden and Congress to establish a federal program that will help build state capacity in the delivery of equitable, modern, and resilient school facilities. Given the lack of action through BBBA, the U.S. Department of Education FY2023 budget request should include funding for facilities data management, planning, training, and a program to cover the cost of facilities modernizations in the poorest, highest-need, and rural districts. There is a school in every single Congressional district in this nation that must be rebuilt. We urge Congress to provide funding to rebuild our schools to educate a global workforce and provide resilient community centers for our citizens.   


The Re[Build] America's School Infrastructure Coalition (BASIC) is a non-partisan coalition of civic, public sector, labor, and industry associations who support federal funding to help under-served public school districts modernize and build K-12 public school facilities. We believe that ALL children should attend healthy, safe, and educationally appropriate school facilities. It's BASIC.

To learn more: Visit BASIC's website, which includes resources and recent school facilities news. Follow BASIC on Twitter @BuildUSschools