K-12 School Facility Database
Establish a California School Facility Database to guide infrastructure spending. The lack of a basic statewide inventory of all K-12 public school facilities, conditions assessments of those facilities, and full information on local school district facility spending is a major obstacle to fully understanding – and addressing – school facility needs in California. To uphold public accountability and realize adequate and equitable spending in all schools, consistent information sharing of public school facility data is essential.
Every day, California’s six million public school children sit in school facilities that shape their academic experience. The future of these learning environments – whether there is adequate and equitable funding to ensure they are safe, healthy and educationally appropriate – is uncertain.
Underfunded school buildings will, over time, undermine teacher performance and student achievement, cause or accentuate health problems among children, and have a shortened useful building life. Student morale and effort are weakened by crowded and uncomfortable conditions in schools. In particular, inadequate lighting and climate control, chronic noise, poor indoor air quality, and too little physical space all work against student concentration. The same factors that affect students also negatively affect teacher morale and effectiveness, and reduce teacher retention. As these poor conditions cause or exacerbate health problems in children and adults, they lead to increased student and teacher absenteeism, which is linked to lower student achievement. Additionally, building systems and components that are not regularly cleaned and maintained end up having a shorter useful life and need to be replaced sooner than expected—a reality that creates added expenditures down the road on district budgets. Most importantly – as many studies have found – low income and minority students are more likely to attend schools with poor physical conditions, which work to exacerbate educational inequities. (see: Going it Alone)
Status: Grant proposal in development