School maintenance is key to the education process, and some lawmakers have recognized that fact. With a recent budget proposal, Florida officials plan to give schools throughout the state millions of dollars so they can finally make much-needed repairs to their buildings. If this proposal passes, communities could ensure their students' and teachers' safety, ultimately allowing districts to rest easy about their schools' corrective maintenance tasks so they can focus on providing a quality education.
State identifies schools' repair needs
According to Capitol News Service, Florida's Senate has presented a budget deal that, if approved, would award districts more than $100 million in funds with the sole purpose of enabling them to renovate their schools. This potential influx of cash specifically reserved for building repairs would be warmly welcomed, seeing as communities have not received financial backing from the state since 2011. Given the age of these buildings alone, it is easy to see how this flood of funds could be a godsend for schools.
"We have a lot of older schools in Florida," said Wayne Blanton, a member of the Florida School Board Association, according to the news source. "Many schools are over 75 years old. We have schools that are over 100 years old and we have to start replacing those very, very soon."
If all goes to plan, Florida's 67 major school districts will be given $50 million in total so that these communities can carry out any essential maintenance projects that they may have been tabling. At the same time, seven systems that are on the smaller side and whose buildings are especially in need of an overhaul will be receiving $59.7 million in state aid.
This is only the beginning
Regardless of the lump sums' heftiness, once the money is divided up and distributed among communities, the amount of funding that every district receives may only make a dent in its maintenance tasks - but at least it's a start.
"No way will it begin to cover the needs of just one county with many schools, so we need to do better in that area," Senator Arthenia Joyner stated.
While this financial backing would serve these schools well when it comes to making a share of corrective repairs to their buildings, there is still plenty more to be done so they can stay on top of preventative maintenance and stop future issues dead in their tracks.
"This is a step in the right direction, considering the capital needs of Florida schools," explained Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, as quoted by the Miami Herald. "We hope this is a sign of things to come in future years."