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Facility Needs and Costs in America's Great City Schools.

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The nation's major city public school districts have substantial construction, renovation, modernization, and deferred maintenance needs because of the age and size of their school buildings, shifting populations, and the need to devote substantial resources to instructional personnel to meet their core academic mission. For instance, the average school is 61 years old in Richmond and 66 years old in Milwaukee, and the typical Great City School enrolls 120 more students than the national average. The Council of the Great City Schools, the nation's primary coalition of large urban public school districts, surveyed its 65 member school systems to determine the scope and scale of that need. Fifty city school districts responded with data on their needs in dollars for new construction; repair, renovation, and modernization; and deferred maintenance. The cities were also asked to estimate what percentage of their total needs in each area could be started by the end of the first year if funds were available. The 50 major city school systems responding to the survey (response rate of 77 percent) comprise some 8,561 elementary and secondary schools and enroll 5,258,404 students. The results of the survey indicate that the responding city school districts have approximately $15.3 billion in new construction needs; $46.7 billion in repair, renovation, and modernization needs; and $14.4 billion in deferred maintenance needs. The total facilities needs in these 50 major city public school districts amount to about $76.5 billion or approximately $8.9 million per school, including new school construction. The range of facilities needs is also substantial. Survey results show that the city school districts not only need to build new buildings to replace old, out-dated facilities, but also need annexes and additions to current buildings to accommodate such expanding needs as science and computer labs. Renovation and maintenance needs include HVAC upgrades; plumbing, roof, window, and door repairs; fire code and other safety upgrades; interior and exterior painting; sidewalk and parking lot repaving; electrical and lighting upgrades; locker and boiler replacements; kitchen upgrades; bus-depot repairs; masonry repairs; security systems; and updated technology. If dollars were available, the responding city school districts estimate that, within one year of receipt of funds, they could begin meeting approximately 18 percent of their new construction needs (or $2.7 billion); about 12 percent of their repair, renovation, and modernization needs (or $5.6 billion); and some 29 percent of their deferred maintenance needs (or $4.1 billion). In sum, the 50 districts could begin spending $12.5 billion in facility projects or about 16 percent of total needs within one year of receipt of funds if they were available.

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Author:Casserly, Michael; Lachlan-Hache, Jonathon; Manish Naik
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2011
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