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U.S. Facing $85 Billion School Facility Funding Gap
October 19, 2021 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
Efforts to keep schools safe during a pandemic and continually aging facilities have public school districts drowning in deficits soaring into the billions for facility funding.
A report, the 2021 State of Our Schools Report: America’s PK-12 Public School Facilities, projected that the U.S. faces an $85 billion shortfall in school facility funding yearly despite spending $110 billion yearly on maintenance, operations, and capital construction.
The study attributes the gap to rising school construction costs, building inventory increases, and significant declines in facility expenditures.
The gap in funding has grown dramatically since 2016, the last year of the report, when there was an annual gap of $46 billion in school facilities funding. The pandemic’s impact only contributes to the crisis.
“Unfortunately, while local districts are struggling with making facilities safe in a pandemic, they are faced with long-standing deficiencies in their aging infrastructure, which makes this very difficult,” says Mary Filardo, executive director, 21st Century School Fund, and lead author of the report, which also included the WELL Building Institute and the National Council on School Facilities.
Dave Lubach is managing editor, Facility Market.