Saturday, September 22, 2012

Money For School Facilities Improvements

Shouldn't a district budget for such things, rather than going hat in hand to the voters every few years?
San Juan Unified needs money to fix leaky windows, replace aging portables and make schools more energy efficient, according to school district officials.

They are asking voters to approve Measure N – a $350 million bond – on the Nov. 6 ballot...

San Juan Unified was successful in 2002 with Measure J, a bond of the same amount to upgrade school facilities.

District property owners are still paying on that bond, as well as on Measure S – a $157 million bond passed in 1998.
The district's budget is about $360 million a year--so they're asking for a full year's budget. Wow.

Kinda makes you wonder.


Scott McCall said...

where did it all go last time they "upgraded"?

allen (in Michigan) said...

Facilities - maintenance budgets - have no political constituency. It's only the prospect of having a roof fall in on the kids, and the resultant embarrassment to the board, that provides the impetus to do maintenance.

Not surprisingly, in many school districts the bare minimum of maintenance is done and in some districts not even that.

Anonymous said...

Is the district *allowed* to spend their ordinary budget on capital expenditures? Often they are only allowed to spend various buckets of money on certain things. As an example, in my local neighborhood we have over a few years:

(1) Shut down one school (out of 6) due to lower enrollment,
(2) Constructed a new school, and
(3) Laid off teachers.

This looks insane (and it probably is), but each step is sorta reasonable...

The shutdown school is a K-5 school and the newly constructed school is a high school. Because of the way things are organized, these are in two separate school districts (although they serve the same population). There is no mechanism to move money from one to the other.

The money that is spent on the new school by law cannot be used for teacher salaries (probably reasonable ... otherwise the funding for bonds would always talk about the new school and the bond money would always turn into raises for the teachers) .

So ... shut down one building, *construct* a new building and lay off teachers. All in the same few years.

San Juan Unified may have similar constraints ...

-Mark Roulo

Anonymous said...

The nexus of the ongoing problem with K12 facilities is most school districts are managed by educators or their designees who have absolutely no idea how to effectively manage physical facilities. Consequently ongoing maintenance is a)treated as an after thought and under-funded, and b) typically ignored until it has degenerated to the point of requiring replacement rather than repair.

In California the vast majority of K12 facilities and maintenance administrators are inept to the point of negligent, resulting in an entire industry (see C.A.S.H.) capitalizing on it and acting as the willing surrogate for those who are charged by the taxpayer to effectively manage the public's investment in K12 physical plants.

Ellen K said...

I think that many communities have very screwed up priorities. In Texas, Football is king and as a result we have over the top facilities for high school teams while their academic departments often do without. I have no problem with athletics, but I do believe we need to reveal to kids the reality of their pro sport dreams. Also, it's odd how technology gets such a lion's share of expenditure when many departments do not use the facilities they are given. We have entire labs dedicated to academic departments that are seldom if ever used. But we can't use them and must limp along with six aging computers for a class of thirty.