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Stimulus Package Puts Spotlight on Maintenance
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: States Decide if School Districts Receive Stimulus FundsPt. 2: Stimulus Funds Can Address Deferred MaintenancePt. 3: School Districts Focus on Modernization, Not New ConstructionPt. 4: This PagePt. 5: Stimulus Funds Go Beyond K-12 School Districts
Among the more striking pieces of fallout from ARRA discussions is the heightened awareness of the role of maintenance and engineering departments in general and, more specifically, the state of deferred maintenance. President Barack Obama made numerous public statements during the presidential campaign and in late 2008 indicating that allocating funds for school modernization was among his highest priorities. And by several accounts, the $40 billion initially allocated for the maintenance and upgrades was among the last and most contentious issues that lawmakers settled.
“It’s significant that there has been a national spotlight on deferred maintenance and facility needs in general,” Bode says. “There is finally some recognition at the federal level that we need to do something significant.” Federal officials are not the only ones showing interest, and managers hope the focus on maintenance continues.
“We’ve gotten lots of attention from the media,” Gamble says, adding he knows the attention could go away from the issue just as quickly as it came. “I think it will continue, but with the budget crisis and the decisions on (funding for) repairs or teachers’ salaries, I fully realize there are business decisions to be made.”