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Biden has signed a climate change spending package, but K-12 schools have largely been left out

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President Biden signed the most significant federal climate change legislation to date on Tuesday, including several provisions that will be of interest to school leaders and educators.

The law authorizes $430 billion in federal spending to encourage companies and consumers to reduce carbon emissions and invest in sustainable alternatives. Schools are not the main focus of the bill, but the final version includes $50 million for schools to improve indoor air quality and $400 million for states, school transportation associations and other entities to spend on electric vehicles such as school buses.

The spending package also beefs up the IRS and raises taxes on corporations — steps aimed at curbing rampant inflationwhich has put severe pressure on schools and districts in areas such as transportation, supplies, dining costs and other expenses.

Other parts may indirectly affect teachers and schools. Teachers, and all consumers, will be able to take advantage federal tax credits for people buying electric cars, solar panels or heat pumps to replace furnaces.

Meanwhile, David Becker, a professor of education policy and leadership at West Chester University, believes that the creation of a national $27 billion “green bank” can encourage loans for schools modernize their facilities with green infrastructure in mind.

But many of the proposals that education advocates pushed in recent years did not make it into final law. Spending package does not include $100 billion in grants and bonds to improve school facilitiesand it does not require all states to offer universal free admission to the college and for a period of two years of study. All of these proposals were part of Biden’s initial proposal for federal infrastructure spending in early 2021.

Separately Art A new green course for schoolsA proposal by progressive Democrats in Congress to spend $1.4 trillion to help schools deal with the effects of climate change and reduce their contributions to it has also not been very popular.

However, school leaders can do a lot to combat the climate crisis. Here are some ideas.

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