The Senate Appropriations Committee on July 30 approved a measure that would create a new $700-million school-renovation program.

The provision, sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), is part of a $730-billion fiscal 2010 spending bill for the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education departments. The measure would direct the Education Dept. to distribute grants to states to build or renovate public elementary and secondary schools. Priority would go to projects in areas that have high percentages of disadvantaged children or that plan to use green construction practices.

The Labor-HHS-Education bill that the House passed on July 24 does not include a school-construction grant provision.