Union claims class repairs will cost pound;200 billion

19th May 2000 at 01:00

A STAGGERING $322 billion (pound;210bn) is needed to renovate or replace deteriorating American schools - 10 times what the states are now planning to spend, and three times the highest previous estimate - according to the nation's largest teachers' union.

The report, by the National Education Association, says that more than 20 million children attend schools that are falling apart or are obsolete. And it says those projections are probably conservative.

"Where pupils learn can have a dramatic impact on what they learn," said association president Bob Chase. "Research shows that they learn best in safe, modern schools, with small classes and up-to-date technology."

States would need to increase their budgets 10-fold to keep up with the need, according to NEA.

In 1995, the government estimated that America's publicschools needed $112bn. The union said its research is more comprehensive and shows that $268bn is needed for repairs, and $54bn to upgrade buildings for Internet access. The problems affect schools in all locations almost equally, the study found.

While schools are almost en-tirely funded locally, the union has called for federal funds, including low or no-interest loans. One bipartisan Bill under consideration would supply $25bn for school modernisation. Another would furnish $1.3bn a year in loans for urgent repairs.

Republicans, who believe the federal government should not be heavily involved in schools, have resisted setting aside money specifically for school construction, despite a survey taken last year that found that 82 per cent of Americans support using federal funds to help modernise the nation's education system.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today