While research shows that attending school in efficiently designed and properly maintained facilities helps student outcomes, a new study shows that the funding U.S. schools receive is not enough to maintain high quality buildings and learning environments. The State of Our Schools: America’s K-12 Facilities report shows that compared to best practices, spending on educational facilities falls about $46 billion short, missing O&M targets by $8 billion and capital construction by $38 billion.
To explain the lack of proper funding, the study’s authors point to a highly variable system between states, with five states paying for nearly all educational capital expenses, 12 that don’t provide support at all, and the remaining 33 states falling in the middle. The report also notes that the federal government invests very little, if anything, to capital construction for educational facilities.
The research was performed by the USGBC’s Center for Green Schools, the 21st Century School Fund, and the National Council on School Facilities and recommends that communities take realistic steps to find new ways to finance educational facility improvements.