Since the housing aid moratorium took effect in 2011, Rhode Island schools have deferred $600 million in facilities maintenance. RIDE estimates that bringing all district schools into good condition will cost $1.8 billion, not including new facilities construction costs.
At the same time, our unemployment rate ranks 46th nationally at 6.8 percent, and the construction industry is a major contributor to joblessness with a 2014 unemployment rate estimated at 40 percent.
One solution offers a win-win for lawmakers. Lifting the school housing aid moratorium and improving Rhode Island’s facilities financing policies will spur the investments needed to get Rhode Islanders back to work, while ensuring our students have high-quality learning environments.