SMACNA Encourages House Members to Cosponsor H.R. 158, The Rehabilitation of Historic Schools Act
SMACNA recently sent a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives enthusiastically endorsing H.R. 158, The Rehabilitation of Historic Schools Act, introduced by Representative Dwight Evans (D-PA-3). H.R. 158, now with more than a dozen cosponsors, would allow rehabilitation expenditures for any building which is a qualified public educational facility to be eligible for the rehabilitation tax credit. A "qualified public educational facility" is a school facility that is part of a public elementary or secondary school and is owned by a private, for-profit corporation pursuant to a public-private partnership agreement with a state or local educational agency. While this legislation awaits consideration in the House Ways and Means Committee, it is now time to boost school infrastructure facility investments by enacting this and related tax and school repair legislation.
Congressman Evans, based on his decades of experience in education, introduced H.R. 158 to make badly needed school improvements to historic educational buildings. His legislation would create another tax-based financing mechanism that could be used to help initiate, develop, and finance energy efficiency, distributed generation, and energy retrofitting and structural renovation projects for historic school facilities. Severe problems with school buildings and educational infrastructure are widespread throughout the nation, with about 14 million students attending schools that need extensive repair. Many of these problems involve the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems – the very systems responsible for vast amounts of energy consumption and the creation of healthy and comfortable indoor environments. By upgrading school structural and mechanical systems, student learning environments are improved, and scarce education funds are conserved. H.R. 158 would allow schools to utilize existing federal rehabilitation tax incentives and related financing mechanisms to improve the energy efficiency, structural integrity, and learning environment of schools.
SMACNA is strongly encouraging Members of the House to cosponsor Rep. Evans’s H.R. 158 and to support improvements to schools as well as their energy efficiency and healthy indoor learning environments and is urging passage of the bill this year.