Gillibrand, 2 others offer school infrastructure plan

U.S. Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — U.S. Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y., alongside Sens. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Tina Smith, D-Minn., recently reintroduced legislation to provide $1 billion in supplemental funding for school infrastructure construction grants through the Impact Aid program.

The act builds upon the American Rescue Plan by providing additional funding for K-12 schools for necessary improvements to respond to COVID-19. The Impact Aid Infrastructure Act would provide competitive and formula grants for school infrastructure projects, including school construction and facilities upgrades, in more than 1,200 federally impacted school districts across the country.

“Federally impacted school districts are in desperate need of resources to create a safe environment for students, teachers, and staff,” Sen. Gillibrand said in a prepared statement. “The Impact Aid Infrastructure Act will provide critical aid to these school districts to make long overdue repairs and renovate their facilities to meet public health guidelines.”

Impact Aid provides direct, flexible payment in lieu of taxes to local school districts for lost revenue caused by the presence of certain federal land in their districts, including national parks and grasslands, national laboratories, Army Corps of Engineers projects and property that encompasses the military academies.

This legislation would provide 40% of grant funding directly to impacted school districts through the existing basic support formula with the remaining 60% available through competitive grants. According to the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools, New York state would receive an estimated $8.5 million in formula funds, with other federally impacted districts able to apply for competitive grant funds.

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