School Facilities:

Condition of America's Schools

HEHS-95-61: Published: Feb 1, 1995. Publicly Released: Feb 1, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the condition of the nation's school buildings, focusing on the: (1) amount of funding public elementary and secondary schools need to improve inadequate facilities; and (2) overall condition and prevalence of schools that need major repairs.

GAO found that: (1) based on a national sample, the nation's schools need an estimated $112 billion to repair or upgrade their facilities to good condition; (2) two-thirds of the schools need $11 billion over the next 3 years to comply with federal mandates to make all programs accessible to all students, to remove hazardous substances, and to meet other requirements; (3) schools also need to comply with state and local health and sanitation codes, safety standards, and building codes; (4) two-thirds of the schools are in adequate or better condition and need only preventive maintenance or corrective repair; (5) about 14 million students nationwide attend the remaining one-third of schools that need extensive repair; (6) almost 60 percent of the nation's schools reported problems with at least one major building feature and about one-half of the schools have at least one unsatisfactory environmental condition such as poor ventilation or poor physical security; and (7) the major factors that contribute to inadequate school facilities include school districts' decisions to defer vital maintenance and repair expenditures because of funding constraints, unfunded federal and state mandates, and shifting population patterns.

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