Senators Introduce Bill to Invest in Central Virginia’s Aging Schools

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U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (AP Photo/Chuck Burton) U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
U.S. Senator Mark Warner (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) U.S. Senator Mark Warner (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

05/17/2017 Release from the Office of Senator Tim Kaine:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) and Budget Committees, and Mark R. Warner, a member of the Senate Budget and Finance Committees, will introduce the School Infrastructure Modernization Act to spur public and private investment in renovating active historic school buildings. This legislation amends the federal historic rehabilitation tax credit to apply to school buildings that continue to operate as schools.

Under current law, the credit applies only for buildings renovated to serve a different function than before. This bill would waive this ‘prior use’ clause for school renovation projects, allowing school districts with aging infrastructure and tight budgets to partner with private entities to finance renovations that the districts otherwise would not be able to afford.

As mayor of Richmond, Kaine led a coalition that found a novel way to apply the historic tax credit to finance the renovation of a closed public school and reopen it as the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies, today one of America’s highest-performing public high schools.

Older schools can often be renovated for less money than the cost of new construction. Preservation of historic schools provides students safe and modern facilities in which to learn; supports construction jobs; and maintains the historic character of communities. Warner has previously introduced this legislation with former U.S. Senator Jim Webb along with a dozen bipartisan House sponsors.

“When I was mayor of Richmond, we used the historic tax credit to help repair and reopen a historic high school, turning it into a jewel of the public school system,” said Kaine. “This bill would make it easier for other cities and towns across Virginia and the country to rehab their own historic schools. This is a commonsense way to give students safer, modern spaces in which to learn while supporting construction jobs.”

“If we want our students to succeed, we need to invest in their learning facilities. This bill is a commonsense solution that creates a pathway for schools with tight budgets to receive the resources they need to renovate and modernize,” said Warner. “Many of these schools qualify as historic buildings, and under this legislation, those schools would be empowered to form private-public partnerships to increase classroom capacity and offer jobs to the surrounding community.”

The Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program has played a role in rehabilitating historic structures and revitalizing communities for more than 35 years. In the commonwealth alone, the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit (HTC) has helped restore more than 1,200 structures since 1997. According to a 2013 analysis, approximately 40 percent of K-12 schools in Virginia - more than 800 schools – are at least 50 years old.

Examples of current and former Central Virginia schools that could be eligible for this tax credit are:

  • Albemarle County - Stone Robinson Elementary
  • Albemarle County - Stony Point Elementary
  • Albemarle County - Woodbrook Elementary
  • Albemarle County - Broadus Wood Elementary
  • Albemarle County - Benjamin F. Yancey Elementary
  • Albemarle County - Virginia L. Murray Elementary
  • Amherst County - Central Elementary
  • Amherst County - Amherst Elementary
  • Amherst County - Amherst Middle
  • Amherst County - Amelon Elementary
  • Amherst County - Amherst County High
  • Bedford County - Boonsboro Elementary
  • Bedford County - Stewartsville Elementary
  • Bedford County - Science And Technology Center
  • Bedford County - Huddleston Elementary
  • Campbell County - William Campbell High
  • Campbell County - Leesville Road Elementary
  • Campbell County - Altavista High
  • Campbell County - Rustburg Middle
  • Charlottesville City - Venable Elementary
  • Charlottesville City - Clark Elementary
  • Chesterfield County - Beulah Elementary
  • Chesterfield County - Chesterfield Community High
  • Chesterfield County - Harrowgate Elementary
  • Chesterfield County - Crestwood Elementary
  • Chesterfield County - Enon Elementary
  • Chesterfield County - Matoaca Middle East Campus
  • Chesterfield County - Matoaca Elementary
  • Dinwiddie County - Dinwiddie Elementary School
  • Dinwiddie County - Midway Elementary School
  • Dinwiddie County - Historic Southside High School Education Center
  • Fluvanna County - Central Elementary
  • Fluvanna County - Project Return/Fluvanna Co
  • Fluvanna County - Palmyra Elementary
  • Franklin County - Lee M. Waid Elementary
  • Hanover County - John M. Gandy Elementary
  • Hanover County - Henry Clay Elementary
  • Hanover County - Battlefield Park Elementary
  • Hanover County - Washington-Henry Elementary
  • Hopewell City - Woodlawn Pre-School Learning Center
  • King and Queen County - King & Queen Elementary
  • King William County - Hamilton Holmes Middle
  • Lynchburg City - Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle for Innovation
  • Lynchburg City - William M. Bass Elementary
  • Lynchburg City - Robert S. Payne Elementary
  • Lynchburg City - Dearington Elementary/Innovation
  • Lynchburg City - Perrymont Elementary
  • Lynchburg City - T.C. Miller Elementary for Innovation
  • Lynchburg City - Bedford Hills Elementary
  • Lynchburg City - Paul Munro Elementary
  • Lynchburg City - Amelia Pride Center
  • New Kent County - 1930 High School
  • Orange County - Lightfoot Elementary
  • Orange County - Unionville Elementary
  • Orange County - Redirection Alternative School Education
  • Orange County - Special Situation Schools
  • Orange County - Taylor Alternative School Education Complex Feeding Site
  • Orange County - Vocational Agriculture Building
  • Petersburg City - Peabody Middle
  • Petersburg City - Westview Early Childhood Education Center
  • Petersburg City - Blandford Academy
  • Powhatan County - Pocahontas Middle
  • Richmond City - Richmond Community High
  • Richmond City - George W. Carver Elementary
  • Richmond City - Swansboro Elementary
  • Richmond City - Elkhardt Middle
  • Richmond City - John B. Cary Elementary
  • Richmond City - Summer Hill/Ruffin Road Elementary
  • Richmond City - Woodville Elementary
  • Richmond City - Elizabeth D. Redd Elementary
  • Richmond City - Mary Scott Elementary
  • Richmond City - Westover Hills Elementary
  • Richmond City - Southampton Elementary
  • Richmond City - George Wythe High
  • Richmond City - A. V. Norrell Annex
  • Richmond City - Huguenot High
  • Richmond City - E.S.H. Greene Elementary
  • Richmond City - G.H. Reid Elementary
  • Richmond City - Armstrong High
  • Richmond City - A. V. Norrell Elementary
  • Richmond City - Fairfield Court Elementary
  • Richmond City - Amelia Street Special Education School
  • Richmond City - John Marshall High
  • Richmond City - Maymont Pre-K Center
  • Richmond City - Mary Munford Elementary
  • Richmond City - Ginter Park Elementary
  • Richmond City - Thomas Jefferson High
  • Richmond City - Franklin Military Academy
  • Richmond City - J.E.B. Stuart Elementary
  • Richmond City - Patrick Henry Elementary
  • Richmond City - Binford Middle
  • Richmond City - Albert Hill Middle
  • Richmond City - George Mason Elementary
  • Richmond City - Bellevue Elementary
  • Richmond City - Open High