Funding for our nation’s public schools, school facilities' conditions, and academic performance have long been a national discussion. NPR is currently spearheading the national discussion on this very topic in a weekly series over the next month, reviewing how states pay for public schools and the effect on students.
In the first article in the series, Why America’s Schools Have A Money Problem, NPR found dollars spent per student varies WIDELY state-by-state and even between neighboring districts. For example, New York spends more than $17,000 per student, while California spends approximately $8,000 per student. Public schools receive 45% of their funds from local money, 45% from the state, and 10% from the federal government.* The local source is mainly property tax, which leads to the large discrepancy in dollars per student given the large variance in property value from district to district.
SchoolDude works with over 5,000 public schools across all 50 states, with more data on facilities and operations than any other source. Based on the large number of schools we work with, we have a unique data-driven perspective on school facilities, operating effectiveness, and student achievement.
While funding would seem to have a direct impact on student achievement, the linkage is a difficult one to make. For example, Washington DC’s average spending per student in 2013 was $17,900*, well above the national average of $11,841.* Yet, student achievement is low, at only about 50% proficiency in 2013 for reading and math.*
However, we have found that the linkage between student achievement and school facility conditions has been well documented. Studies show student behavior, health, and student achievement are directly impacted by school facilities.*
Regardless of the location of your district, public schools can implement a well-run maintenance program to improve the condition of facilities. A well-run maintenance program helps to:
- Ensure corrective work order requests are completed faster – non-functioning or damaged areas affect student performance and can disrupt classroom learning
- Improve preventive maintenance initiatives, reducing overall cost of maintenance, breakdown, and repairs
- Increase customer and faculty satisfaction – after all, happier teachers = better learning environments for students
- Reduce capital dollars required by improving facility conditions
While student funding is critical, we believe reforms on funding must be accompanied by a focus on preventive maintenance and breaking the cycle of deterioration that further compounds the money problem.
To dive deeper on these topics and learn how to be a good steward of your school facilities dollars, check out these resources:
- Whitepaper: Deferring Now Costs You Later
- Whitepaper: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
- Blog: How does your school’s physical environment affect students?
- Automated Maintenance Solution Overview