Upgrading the nation’s public K-12 school buildings to a “good overall condition” would cost about $200 billion, according to a new, nationally representative survey released last week by the National Center for Education Statistics.
Fifty-three percent of public schools need to spend money on repairs, renovations, and modernizations to put them in good condition—improvements that would cost about $4.5 million per school, results from the survey show.
Among schools where 75 percent or more of students are eligible for free and reduced-price meals, the percentage of schools in need of substantial upgrades to reach good condition is 60 percent.
Thirty-one percent of public schools use portable buildings for classroom space on their sites, but such temporary buildings are more commonly found in schools that serve large numbers of poor and minority students, the survey found.
The survey sample drew from responses of administrators at approximately 1,800 regular public elementary, middle, and secondary/combined schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and represents the reported conditions of school facilities in the 2012-13 academic year.
Its other findings include:
• Sixty percent of public schools have written long-range facilities plans, with 17 percent reporting that major repairs and modernization work was already under way in the 2012-13 school year;
• Thirty-nine percent said major renovations and modernizations were on tap for the next two years, mostly for security-system replacements and technology upgrades; and,
• The average age of public schools’ main instructional buildings is 44 years.
A version of this article appeared in the March 12, 2014 edition of Education Week as Survey Finds School Buildings in Need of Improvements