How could schools benefit from the Build Back Better Act?

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 3:00 PM EST

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - After clearing the House, the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act is up for a vote in the Senate. The social policy and climate change legislation could help address issues plaguing our nation’s school system including personnel shortages.

Nikki Beam, a nurse in New Orleans, said she became increasingly frustrated having to pick her six-year-old daughter up from school every day.

“I was literally leaving work in a gap that the doctors had if there was one,” she said.

Beam said she had to transfer her daughter to a new school because she said there was a bus driver shortage.

“I was like do I keep going to my boss, like ‘hey I don’t have a way for my child to get home because one bus isn’t running,’” said Beam.

Across the country in addition to a teacher shortage, schools are struggling to fill open positions from cafeteria workers to bus drivers.

A survey from the National Association for Pupil Transportation found 51% of school districts classify their bus shortage as “severe.”

The House Education and Labor Committee is hoping to fix some of these issues with its portion of the Build Back Better Act which the committee says calls for just over $454 billion in proposed funding.

The dollar amount breakdown of the committee’s portion of the $1.75 trillion dollar Build Back Better Act includes:

  • $380 billion for childcare and universal preschool
  • $1 billion for Older Americans Act
  • 20 billion each for higher education, efforts to help workers secure good jobs, and the civilian climate corps
  • $10 billion for child hunger

“This allows people to go to work,” said Education and Labor Committee Chairman Congressman Bobby Scott.

Scott said the largest dollar amount of the committee’s portion $380 billion will not only help make childcare more affordable but prepare three- and four-year-olds for school.

“Pre-K has been shown to be a very valuable part of your educational experience,” said Scott.

Scott said funding for job training could help with addressing the bus driver and other shortages in the nation’s workforce.

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