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President Clinton's School Reform Tour


May 3, 2000

Today, President Clinton will visit Central High School in Davenport, Iowa to draw national attention to the imperative of modernizing America's aging and overcrowded schools. Specifically, he will highlight his commitment to help states and localities build and modernize 6,000 schools nationwide and conduct emergency repairs on 5,000 schools annually, and he will release a new Education Department guide for communities facing school construction challenges. Built in 1907, Central High is one of several schools that the Davenport School District plans to renovate to accommodate new technology, upgrade facilities, and ensure a good learning environment for students. The President will point out that the tough accountability measures he has called for as part of his reform agenda cannot have force unless we also invest in our students and schools to help them reach high standards. The President will call on Congress to pass a budget that includes his school construction proposals and helps communities like Davenport address the infrastructure crisis created by rising enrollment and aging buildings. In Davenport, which is the second stop in his School Reform Tour, the President will emphasize that as we demand more from our schools we must also invest more in them.

PRESIDENT CLINTON RELEASES NEW COMMUNITY RESOURCE GUIDE ON SCHOOL DESIGN. The President today will release a new report from the U.S. Department of Education, "Schools as Centers of Community: A Citizen's Guide For Planning and Design." The report serves as a resource for educators, planners and community members to meet the challenge of providing effective educational facilities. It highlights methods of providing safe, up-to-date learning environments. The report includes a planning guide for local communities and examples of innovative school designs around the country. The President will note that replacing, repairing and updating school facilities is an ongoing need that requires commitment from government at all levels.

THE NEED FOR SCHOOL RENOVATION AND CONSTRUCTION IS A NATIONAL PRIORITY. A report last year by the National Center for Education Statistics pointed out that school buildings begin rapid deterioration after 40 years -- and that the average public school in America is 42 years old. Moreover, rising student enrollment means that communities around the country have to build an additional 2,400 schools by 2003. A 1996 report by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) estimated the cost of bringing America's schools into overall good condition to be at least $112 billion. Today, the National Education Association will release a report that puts that cost at $322 billion, more than double the GAO figure from just four years ago. Clearly, the President will note, school modernization is a national priority that demands a national response.

PRESIDENT CLINTON CALLS ON AMERICA TO HONOR ITS COMMITMENT TO OUR NATION'S SCHOOLS. The President has sent a plan to Congress that would provide $24.8 billion in tax credits to states and local districts to build and modernize 6,000 schools nationwide. In addition, the President's budget includes an emergency school construction initiative that would provide $1.3 billion to states and school districts for emergency repairs on 5,000 schools a year. Today, the President will call again on Congress to enact this plan and give America's schoolchildren the resources and facilities they need to meet high standards.

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