Arizona is in line to get $661 million for K-12 schools and community-college facilities if Congress passes President Obama's jobs plan.
Arizona's share of the federal money has the potential to support 7,100 construction-related jobs, according to a White House fact sheet. The American Jobs Act bill requires the funds to be spent by Sept. 30, 2012.
"The American Jobs Act will lead to new jobs for construction workers, jobs for teachers, jobs for veterans, jobs for young people, jobs for the unemployed," Obama said during a speech Tuesday in Ohio. "It will provide tax relief for every worker and small business in America. And it will not add to the deficit. It will be paid for."
Under his plan, the Tucson Unified School District would get $56.5 million.
"We haven't had any state (building renewal) funding for the last few years, so we have a lot of things that need to be addressed," said Marcus Jones, TUSD program manager for bonds and architecture.
As the school district has prioritized its maintenance and repair issues, some secondary issues have gotten worse and others have dropped off the priority list altogether, he said.
Jones said about $20 million a year is needed to keep the district's schools in good shape.
If Congress passes the bill, Arizona's community college districts would share $116.6 million for facilities repairs and upgrades.
The colleges haven't gotten state funds for buildings in recent years, and they have had deep state budget cuts.
"This would be welcome relief," said Michael Kearns, president of the Arizona Community College Presidents Council and president of Mohave Community College in Kingman.
The annual deferred maintenance needs at Pima Community College in Tucson for equipment and facilities are around $8 million, said college spokesman C.J. Karamargin. The college has delayed replacing computers and repairing roofing, parking lots, sidewalks, flooring and ceiling tiles, he said. PCC also postponed a planned new classroom building at its East Campus.
Estimated deferred maintenance needs at Cochise College campuses in Douglas, Sierra Vista and Benson add up to $16.5 million.
Kearns said community-college leaders are cautiously optimistic about the passage of the president's job plan.
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Contact reporter Becky Pallack at firstname.lastname@example.org or 807-8012.