A Coordinated Approach to School Maintenance
Every school day, nearly 50 million K-12 students and 6 million adults occupy close to 100,000 public school buildings on an estimated two million acres of land. While state and local governments make significant investment in public K-12 schools infrastructure and schools play important civic, educational, and public safety roles in communities, the nation continues to underinvest in school facilities, leaving an estimated $38 billion annual gap. As a result, 24% of public school buildings were rated as being in fair or poor condition. While there have been a number of insightful reports in recent years, state and local governments are plagued by a lack of comprehensive data on public school infrastructure as they seek to fund, plan, construct, and maintain quality school facilities.
Every school day, nearly 50 million K-12 students and 6 million adults occupy close to 100,000 public school buildings on an estimated two million acres of land. The student population increased by nearly five million between 1994 and 2013, requiring an additional 13,000 K-12 schools. Enrollment is projected to increase by 3% between the 2013-2014 and 2025-26 academic years – rising from 50 million to 51.4 million students. State and local governments face a constant challenge to keep up with operations and maintenance and the need for new construction, in addition to accommodating improved health and safety standards, stronger accessibility requirements, and new technology.Conditions & Capacity
School funding varies widely by state. Five states pay for nearly all of their school districts’ capital costs, 12 states provide no direct support for districts for capital construction responsibilities, and in the remaining 33 states, the levels of support vary greatly. The federal government contributes little to no funding for the nation’s K-12 educational facilities.Funding & Future Need
In many instances school buildings also serve communities as emergency shelters during man-made or natural disasters. This secondary function has a significant role in public health, safety, and welfare, and requires facilities that are maintained to function in emergencies and resilient to quickly recover. Many schools require upgrades to effectively fulfill this important community purpose, including windows that can withstand high winds, structures designed to survive earthquakes, and rooms specifically designed as shelters from tornados.
ASCE urges the 116th Congress to focus on prioritizing infrastructure upgrades and modernization to sustain our economy, public health, and safety. Contact your Member of Congress to urge them to draft and pass legislation that moves toward closing the $2 trillion investment gap.Share Story
Tell Congress to reverse decades of underinvestment by making an infrastructure bill a top priority in 2020.Share Story
While we have made some progress, reversing the trajectory after decades of underinvestment in our infrastructure requires transformative action.Share Story