Just after Columbus City Schools had to release students early because of high temperatures and lack of air-conditioning – for two days in a row – the district's superintendent joined Senator Sherrod Brown to promote the School Building Improvement Act.
According to district superintendent Dan Good, more than 40 buildings in the district do not have air-conditioning. Combined with an early fall heat wave, that led to Columbus City Schools sending tens of thousands of students home two and a half hours early on Monday and Tuesday.
Good says that’s a rare occurrence, but the schools’ infrastructure problems are more extensive than that – tied to the old age of many buildings.
“We have stores in our community that make money from selling old clothes, worn furniture and even well-aged cars that are more valuable because they are vintage,” Good says. “But a building like Columbus Alternative High School, or any of the 14 high schools in our district that average 60 years of age or older, vintage isn’t necessarily valuable.”
Good says technology in the schools are limited by old wiring, and thick walls won’t allow wireless signals.
“It causes students to ask if this community truly values public education if it doesn’t invest in its buildings,” he says.
Brown says the School Building Improvement Act provides local districts with grants and school construction bonds over the next 10 years to update school buildings. He connects the $100 billion proposed investment to President Trump’s trillion-dollar pledge to American infrastructure.
“All the school construction would be completed with American-made materials, support local manufacturing and construction industries,” Brown says.
Brown says his proposal would create an estimated 1.9 million jobs.