WASHINGTON, D.C. — Thirty billion dollars to protect teaching jobs and $30 billion to modernize school buildings are part of the $447 billion “jobs bill” package that President Obama unveiled Thursday, according to media reports.

Administration officials estimated that the $30 billion would protect up to 280,000 educators’ jobs over two years, according to Education Week. Districts could use the money to pay for benefits and to hire new staff, Education Week reported, and districts would not have to agree to any reform measures as a condition of receiving the funds.

The $30 billion for school buildings could be used for emergency repairs, energy efficiency updates, science and computer labs or technology updates, with the money divided among states based on need, Education Week reported. Officials estimated the funding could pay for makeovers of about 35,000 schools.

 The biggest 100 school districts would get a direct building modernization grant, which could help Detroit Public Schools, according to Education Week and the Detroit Free Press.

The president said he would soon present a specific proposal to cut elsewhere in order to pay for the jobs bill, according to the Free Press. However, he also proposed asking Congress’ deficit-reduction committee to come up with $1.95 trillion in savings rather than $1.5 trillion as a way of paying for the package, the Free Press reported.

SOURCES:

Education Week, “Obama Calls for $60 Billion to Save Teacher Jobs, Fix Schools,” Sept. 8, 2011 (Subscription required)

Detroit Free Press, “President Obama to Congress: ‘Pass this jobs bill,’” Sept. 9, 2011

FURTHER READING:

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “School Districts Ignoring Labor Market Signals,” May 2, 2011

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