Understand the consequences of underfunded K-12 students

Building & Facility Info ó Schools are buildings of business

News Flash - Students Attend Schools in Buildings!

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Every day over 1 million students enter, learn and leave public school buildings. But much of the budgets that build and maintain those facilities are unrelated. Worse, the budgets often overlap in ways that are, or perhaps should be, equally unrelated. Some budget allocations are to pay for instructional materials or heating bills!

Capital budgets as well as a districtís operating budgets are significantly affected by state funding sources and processes.

What Are School Buildings Expected To Do?

Like any professional service building housing any specialized business, school buildings are purpose-built and dedicated in service delivery.

 Provide clean, safe and functional space.

 Provide up-to-date technology and services.

 Be up to code on fire, earthquake and flood risks.

 Meet OSHA and other standard employee requirements, plus additional levels of health and safety specs.

Like any building, schools have to be maintained to preserve the significant investment. Interior and exterior maintenance, plus landscape maintenance (of which the design often has to meet local codes, but not realistic funding allocated towards maintenance ).

Funding Washington Schools

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Source: 2008 Citizenís Guide to K-12 Finance

What are other types of dedicated funding utilized by school districts?

Over three-fourths of a typical school districtís expenditures are for the day-to-day operation of the school district and are funded in the school districtís general fund. For this reason, this document primarily focuses on these expenditures. However, it should be noted that school districts also use other funds including: Capital Project Funds, which are used for some facility construction and remodeling costs; Debt Service Funds, which are used for the repayment of bond debt; Associated Student Body Funds, which are used for student activities; and Transportation Vehicle Funds, which are used for purchasing school buses.

How is school construction funded in the state?

In each biennial capital budget, the state provides financial assistance to school districts for constructing new and remodeling existing school buildings. The state assistance program is based on two principles: (a) state and local school districts share the responsibility for the provision of school facilities; and (b) there is an equalization of burden among school districts to provide school facilities regardless of the wealth of the districts.

To be eligible for state funding, a school district must have a space or remodeling need and must secure voter approval of a bond levy or other funding for the local share of a school project. Once the local share is secured, the state money is allocated to districts based on a formula comprised primarily of a set of space and cost standards/allocations and a matching ratio based on the relative wealth of the district.

The state program does not reimburse all costs related to a project. Costs not eligible for reimbursement include site acquisition costs; administrative buildings; stadiums/grandstands; most bus garages; and local sales taxes. Construction-related costs that are eligible include eligible construction costs per square foot; architectural and engineering fees; construction management; value engineering studies; furniture and equipment; energy conservation reports; and inspection and testing.

In the 2007-09 biennium (fiscal years 2008 and 2009), the Legislature appropriated approximately $880 million for the state match associated with school construction projects.

Source: 2008 Citizenís Guide to K-12 Finance prepared by staff of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Committee with staff of the Legislative Evaluation and Accountability Program (LEAP) Committee.

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