Meriden public school officials took U.S. Congressman Chris Murphy (D-5th District) on an unusual tour through Casimir Pulaski Elementary School Wednesday afternoon – instead of showing off its best face, officials went around pointing out the 40-year-old school’s blemishes.
There was the duct-taped bathroom door frame, and a cubicle wall at the end of one hall that cordoned off a sort of small makeshift classroom in the hallway for individual instruction. A bank of tall single-paned windows in one room prompted Superintendent Mark Benigni to say, “you’re watching (heating) dollars literally go right out the single paned windows."
It's school infrastructure issues like these Murphy said he and other members of the house are trying to solve by resurrecting a portion of President Barack Obama's American Jobs Act when they return to session later this January.
The congressman from Cheshire came to Pulaski Wednesday to announce that though the jobs bill as a whole was unlikely to be passed, he and his colleagues are trying to get a specific portion of the bill through congress that would invest about $25 billion into school construction in the nation.
The bill would provide about $185 million to school construction projects in Connecticut, according to Murphy, to fix issues with older buildings, add room to schools that have outgrown their spaces and increase energy efficiency in schools like Pulaski throughout the state – with the added boon of putting local unemployed builders to work.
"This perfect storm of aging infrastructure, low construction prices, and out of work construction employees, begs for a solution from Washington," Murphy said in the school's library. (Click on the video above for more of Murphy's press conference.)