School Facilities:

America's Schools Report Differing Conditions

HEHS-96-103: Published: Jun 14, 1996. Publicly Released: Jun 25, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the condition of the nation's school buildings, focusing on differences in the: (1) condition of schools; (2) amount of funding needed to repair or upgrade facilities; and (3) number of students attending schools in inadequate condition.

GAO found that: (1) the condition of schools, the funding needed to repair or upgrade facilities, and the number of students attending schools in inadequate condition all differed by location, community type, percentage of minority and disadvantaged students, and school level and size; (2) the amounts schools and states needed to bring schools into good condition varied widely; (3) schools' environmental and physical conditions varied widely by region and states and by community type, percentage of minority and poor students served, and school size and level; (4) the largest percentage of schools that had inadequate environmental and physical conditions were in the western United States and in central cities that served minority and poor students; (5) schools needed to spend about $112 billion, or an average of $1.7 million per school, to repair or upgrade them to good overall condition; (6) although the amount of funding needed by state, school, and region varied, central city schools serving minority and poor students required the most funding; (7) schools estimated that they will require $9.2 billion over three years to comply with federal mandates; and (8) about one quarter to one third of the nation's students attend schools with one inadequate building, at least one inadequate building feature, and at least one unsatisfactory environmental condition.

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