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Getting Local: Facilities Needs in a Northern California School District

Posted on by BRETT MITCHELL
Filed under: School Facilities,
A NEW UC BERKELEY CENTER FOR CITIES+SCHOOLS STUDY FINDS THAT MORE THAN HALF OF CALIFORNIA’S K-12 SCHOOL DISTRICTS UNDERSPEND ON THEIR FACILITIES, COMPARED TO BEST PRACTICE SPENDING STANDARDS. THIS IS A GUEST BLOG REFLECTING ON THE RESEARCH FINDINGS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR CALIFORNIA STATE POLICY.

The new study from UC Berkeley’s Center for Cities and Schools on school facilities spending patterns in California hits home in my school district, San Juan Unified School district (SJUSD). In the study, “Going it Alone: Can California’s K-12 School Districts adequately and Equitably Fund School Facilities?”, Jeff Vincent and Liz Jain document school district efforts across California to address their facilities maintenance and building renewal needs. Not too surprisingly, the gap between what is being spent on facilities and what the capital needs are is actually quite disparate.

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In the SJUSD alone, we have extraordinary facility need according to the recently completed facility master plan. The combined cost for the Master Plan Improvement Projects (MPIP) and the Facilities Conditions Improvement Plan (FCIP) is a staggering $2.4 billion. This involves upgrades to all 66 schools across the district. Of particular interest, as it relates to Vincent & Jain’s study, is that the identified maintenance and repair costs alone are estimated to be $140,000,000.

 

With an annual deferred maintenance budget of less than $5,000,000, it could conceivably take 28 years to meet the maintenance needs of the district. And that would only happen as long as no other buildings in the district aged and assuming there is no escalation in cost over those 28 years (not likely to happen!). Thanks to the good voters of the SJUSD, the district has experienced some success in the passage of local bonds that boost the districts efforts at capital improvements.  

The school facility annual spending standards presented by Vincent and Jain are a common sense approach to facility budgeting guidelines. We should be using these as rules of thumb to gauge our needs, both within individual districts and across the state. Vincent and Jain also lay out sound policy recommendations for California to achieve adequacy and equity in our school buildings.

To stabilize the facility needs of school districts, state funding is paramount – especially for those districts that have low assessed valuation. Statewide equity in funding should be forefront in any new standard. It’s up to us at the local level to plan well to best use those funds, but financing school construction and repair has to be a partnership.

Brett A. Mitchell, MaEd, EdD Candidate, is Director of Facilities Construction and Modernization, San Juan Unified School District. All views here are his own.


Y-PLAN Policy Brief Featured at Urban America Forward Civil Rights Roundtable

Posted on by Deborah McKoy, Jessie Stewart

Y-PLAn Was recently featured at the Urban America Forward: Civil Rights Roundtable Series National Conference in Washington D.C. Deborah McKoy, Executive Director of CC+S, participated as part of the Healthy Communities panel, presenting the Following policy brief entitled "Planning Healthy, Vibrant Cities For and With Young People: The Power and Possibilities of Y-PLAN."   “Healthy City Planning” has the potential to challenge the status quo by creating far more integrated and equitable place-making policies and practices. This emerging framework leads planners and policymakers to “eliminate the deep and persistent inequities that plague cities” by returning urban planning to its roots in public health and social justice. Unfortunately, this…


NYC Chancellor Fariña Calls For Citywide Y-PLAN Expansion at Y-PLAN NYC Pilot Launch Event

Posted on by Amanda Eppley

“Y-PLAN is crucial to our lives, because we can see how young people have the power to make changes in society and make our voices heard.” - Y-PLAN NYC Student   On Wednesday morning, March 2nd, fifty high school students from across New York City joined their teachers, principals, superintendents, and chancellor, as well as civic leaders from across the city, at the Y-PLAN NYC Pilot Launch in the Court Room at Brooklyn Borough Hall to share their early successes and challenges in implementing Y-PLAN. An opening Gallery of Student Work allowed the young people to explain their projects to…


How Should California Fund its K-12 School Facility Needs?

Posted on by JEFF VINCENT, PHD
Filed under: School Facilities,
Tagged: jeff vincent

This blog is part of our series looking at the California policy implications for our new study, Going it Alone: Can California’s K-12 School Districts Adequately and Equitably Fund School Facilities?, which finds that more than half of school districts in the state underspend on their facilities, raising educational and health equity concerns. In Spring 2016, lawmakers in Sacramento will debate new state funding options for K-12 public school facilities. To inform this policy discussion, CC+S has invited guest commentary from prominent voices across the state. With the Brown Administration and the State Legislature returning from the holiday break and looking at options for new…


K-12 School Buildings: Key to a Low Carbon Future

Posted on by KATE GORDON
Filed under: School Facilities,
Tagged: kate gordon

This blog is part of our series looking at the California policy implications for our new study, Going it Alone: Can California’s K-12 School Districts Adequately and Equitably Fund School Facilities?, which finds that more than half of school districts in the state underspend on their facilities, raising educational and health equity concerns. In Spring 2016, lawmakers in Sacramento will debate new state funding options for K-12 public school facilities. To inform this policy discussion, CC+S has invited guest commentary from prominent voices across the state. As the holidays end and my kids gear up for a new semester, it’s turned my attention on a critical issue here in…


Eliminating the K-12 Facility Gap

Posted on by KATHLEEN MOORE
Filed under: School Facilities,

A NEW UC BERKELEY CENTER FOR CITIES+SCHOOLS STUDY FINDS THAT MORE THAN HALF OF CALIFORNIA’S K-12 SCHOOL DISTRICTS UNDERSPEND ON THEIR FACILITIES, COMPARED TO BEST PRACTICE SPENDING STANDARDS. THIS IS PART OF A SERIES OF BLOG POSTS ON OUR RESEARCH FINDINGS AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE POLICY. UC Berkeley Center for Cities and Schools’ recent study, “Going it Alone: Can California’s K-12 School Districts adequately and Equitably Fund School Facilities?” benchmarks school maintenance and operations (M & O) and capital spending to building industry best practice standards for the first time ever in California. Doing so gives us a far better picture of…


EQUALIZING SCHOOL QUALITY: PROGRESSIVE FINANCE OF SCHOOL FACILITIES NEEDED IN CALIFORNIA

Posted on by BRUCE FULLER, PHD
Filed under: School Facilities,
Tagged: bruce fuller

A NEW UC BERKELEY CENTER FOR CITIES+SCHOOLS STUDY FINDS THAT MORE THAN HALF OF CALIFORNIA’S K-12 SCHOOL DISTRICTS UNDERSPEND ON THEIR FACILITIES, COMPARED TO BEST PRACTICE SPENDING STANDARDS. THIS IS A GUEST BLOG REFLECTING ON THE RESEARCH FINDINGS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR CALIFORNIA STATE POLICY. Gov. Brown’s deputies find themselves in a contradictory position as they consider whether or not to tax local communities to improve crumbling school facilities. The Administration presses forward on one of the largest efforts to redistribute public resources toward lower-income families and their children ever attempted by any government. The governor’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) reform will…


Is School Facility Funding in California Adequate and Equitable?

Posted on by JEFF VINCENT, PHD
Filed under: School Facilities,
Tagged: jeff vincent

A new UC Berkeley Center for Cities+Schools study finds that more than half of California’s K-12 school districts underspend on their facilities, compared to best practice spending standards. This is the first in a series of blog posts on our research findings and their implications for state policy.   Public education funding is undergoing major changes in California. The new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) significantly restructured education program funding – providing more money overall and instituting a new formula that gives more funding to districts with targeted disadvantaged students (see the details here). Though it’s been making fewer headlines,…


Designing Outdoor Play and Learning Environments

Posted on by Cailin
Filed under: School Facilities,

We get a lot of random requests for information here at CC+S. Here’s one we’ve had more than once: “What are best practices for the design of outdoor play and learning environments at schools?"  We recently got an email about this from a parent in Hawai’i. As my colleagues and I put together a shortlist of key resources for her, it occurred to me that it was worth sharing. So here goes. Big kudos to CC+S’s Creative Director, Shirl Buss, who put most of this info together.  In no particular order, these firms and organizations have done innovative work in playground design: Robin…


Full Service Schools in a Full Service City

Posted on by Cailin
Filed under: School Facilities,

Desiree Carver-Thomas is working with the City of Richmond to examine the way in which communities and schools positively interact to create beneficial outcomes. Her project: Implementing the Full Service Community Schools Initiative, aims to increase the presence of full service schools across Richmond.  Desiree is a first-year Master of Public Policy student at the Goldman School, interested in education policy and social welfare. She came to Berkeley after teaching for five years in New York City public elementary schools. She's committed to working on issues of equity and community empowerment in public education. A full service community school (FSCS) is “both a place and a…