Even though the state legislature has set aside up to $50 million for a new school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut’s congressional delegation continues to press for federal funds to cover the cost.
U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, who represents Newtown in Washington, has offered an amendment that would make the construction of a new Sandy Hook school eligible for federal funds. The House Rules Committee is expected to determine whether the amendment will receive an up or down vote during a hearing Wednesday afternoon.
The delegation acknowledged that getting the federal government to pay for the construction of a new school would be a challenge; federal funds are typically used to pay for programming, not buildings.
But the tragedy in Newtown was so enormous — 20 children and six women were shot and killed in December – that a policy change is warranted.
“Bringing relief to Newtown and every community where school children have experienced mass tragedy is a cause worth fighting for,” Esty said in a press release. “This tragedy has touched people on a national scale, and as a nation, we have an obligation to do everything we can to help this community and the children who attend Sandy Hook Elementary heal and continue their lives.”
The other four members of the state’s delegation — U.S. Reps. John Larson, Joe Courtney, Rosa DeLauro and Jim Himes — are cosponsoring Esty’s amendment.
The state of Connecticut has already agreed to pick up most of the cost of rebuilding the school. In the waning hours of the 2013 legislative session, state lawmakers authorized up to $50 million in bond funds to raze Sandy Hook Elementary School and build a new school. Newtown’s typical state reimbursement rate for school construction projects is 24.64 percent. The state bond commission has already approved $750,000 to cover design costs, the first phase of the project.