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Facility Planning

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The 74 Million, 1/30/19

House Democrats unveil $100B school facility upgrade bill, urge inclusion in long-sought bipartisan infrastructure deal

Congressional Democrats introduced a bill to spend $100 billion on improving school infrastructure. Spending on improvements to schools, congressional Democrats said, should be part of any large-scale infrastructure bill, like the one President Donald Trump has proposed. “Every day across districts in America, students and educators attend schools that are either unsafe or lack basic resources, or both, and this is simply unacceptable,” Rep. Bobby Scott, the Democratic chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, said at a press conference in Washington. The bill, dubbed the Rebuild America’s Schools Act, would put $70 billion in grants and $30 billion in bonds toward improving schools, with a priority given to the schools in worst condition and those serving high numbers of low-income students. Funds could also be used for technology upgrades.

S&P Global Ratings, 12/20/18

From union ballots to election ballots: A look back at the top 10 credit stories affecting U.S. charter schools in 2018

It’s been an eventful year for the U.S. charter school sector. Some schools edge closer to possible defaults, some have dealt with striking workers, and many lost some allies at multiple levels of government following the midterm elections. At the same time, options for charter school financings beyond rated debt have expanded substantially. S&P Global Ratings analysts recently discussed what they thought were the most impactful events in the sector that have had or could have credit quality implications. Here are their picks for the top 10 credit stories for charter schools in 2018.

Wall Street Journal, 11/9/18

This building is for sale (but not to a charter school)

Declining enrollment has contributed to a growing inventory of vacant and half-empty school buildings in cities across the U.S. Private and charter schools often want to purchase or lease space in these facilities. But school districts and union-backed politicians frequently balk. The Milwaukee Public Schools currently have at least 11 vacant school buildings and 41 schools operating below 70% capacity. St. Marcus Lutheran…which ranks in the top 1% statewide among schools with a majority of low-income and minority students, offered $1 million in 2013 to buy Malcolm X Academy, a large public-school campus that had been closed since 2008. The Milwaukee Board of School Directors said no and instead chose to sell the site to…a newly formed corporation registered to a pair of construction-business operators. That deal fell through, and in 2016 the school district opted instead to spend $10 million relocating the struggling middle school and its roughly 400 students to the Malcolm X campus.

St. Augustine, 12/14/17

FL school district finds $44 million in energy efficiencies over the last decade

After salaries, energy is the district’s second biggest line item in the budget. In 2008, the school district began identifying energy efficiency opportunities across its existing campuses as well as building those economies into new construction. Since prioritizing conservation, the district has averaged a 45 percent reduction in energy costs across the board, or about $6 million, a year.

American Statesman, 5/1/17

Texas: Senate passes bill to help save charter schools money on construction

Senate Bill 1480, which would allocate an additional $3 billion of the Permanent School Fund to back charter school bonds, passed the Senate Monday, with four Republicans voting against the measure. The $30 billion Permanent School Fund, the largest education endowment in the country, guarantees bonds from traditional school districts and charter schools, allowing them to borrow money for construction at lower interest rates.

Education Next, 4/12/17

New blueprints for K–12 schools

Blended Learning uses school time in a unique way, combining online instruction with traditional methods and giving students more agency over how, when, and where they learn. That third variable, the “where,” calls for some serious rethinking of how school space is organized and deployed. In our architectural practice, we have found that design either supports or frustrates a school’s mission—it is never an “innocent bystander.”

CNBC, 3/9/17

America’s school facilities get a near-failing grade

Spending gaps per student, a key metric tracked in Heming and Filardo’s report, have been increasing in many states over the years. These gaps include costs associated with maintenance and operation, and capital construction, as they would be needed depending on the number of children in a school district.