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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                         (Aboard Air Force One)
For Immediate Release                                      June 22, 2000


Every year that Congress stalls on passing critical school modernization legislation is another year our children have to go to class in trailers, in crowded classrooms, in crumbling schools. A new U.S. Department of Education survey of the condition of American schools gives cause for concern. Rising enrollments and years of deferred maintenance have taken a serious toll, jeopardizing our children's health and the quality of their education. According to the report, our schools require $127 billion in repairs and 3.5 million students attend school in buildings that need to be replaced altogether.

Children cannot learn in crumbling schools. It is clear that additional resources are needed to accommodate record enrollments and allow smaller classes. I have called on Congress to enact my proposal to repair 25,000 schools over the next five years. In addition, I have proposed a school construction tax cut that would help communities build and modernize 6,000 schools. Representatives Charles Rangel and Nancy Johnson have introduced legislation to do just that. While there is broad bipartisan support for this key school modernization legislation, congressional leaders have refused to even bring it to a vote. Congress should act now to give all our children the safe, modern, world-class schools they deserve.