Funding Woes: California K-12 Public School District Facilities in Bad Shape

  December 8, 2015

A Nov. 30 report from UC-Berkeley’s Center for Cities and Schools offered good news and bad news for the state of California.

The good: weather forecasts predict a wet winter in a state that desperately needs rain to pull out of serious drought conditions now approaching five years.

And bad: even if the rain comes to soften the drought’s impact, the report says more than half of the state’s K-12 public school districts meet the minimum industry standards for annual spending on maintenance and operations, or capital improvements like new roofing systems to protect students from the elements.

According to the article, between 2008 and 2012, the most recent year data is available, 57 percent of almost 900 districts examined did not meet benchmarks in capital improvement spending, and 62 percent failed to reach standards for basic maintenance and operation during the same period.

When placed into bleaker terms, about 2.2 million of California’s 6 million K-12 students attend schools struggling with maintenance upkeep.

“This trend signals costly long-term consequences for the state as accumulated facility needs risk becoming a health and safety crisis,” the analysis notes.

The study indicates that districts must spend $1.4 billion in additional funds per year to meet benchmarks for maintenance and operations and with the state struggling financially, many are calling on the local districts to foot more of the bill.

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