Editor's Note (The View From Here)

Things Are Looking Up

Finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and the light does not seem to be caused by an oncoming train! After quite a few years of tight or non-existent budgets for facility projects, states are once again in the spending mode. Here are some examples.

Ohio: On July 10, The Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) approved over $251 million in state funding for school construction projects. Combined with $279 million in local funding, these projects represent more than $530 million.

California: In March, the State Allocation Board (SAB) announced that it has awarded approximately $372.2 million for 105 school construction projects. In addition, The California Clean Energy Jobs Act (Prop. 39) changed the corporate income tax code and allocates projected revenue to California’s General Fund and the Clean Energy Job Creation Fund. Roughly up to $550 million annually is available for appropriation for eligible projects to improve energy efficiency and expand clean energy generation in schools.

Wyoming: The school facilities department is requesting $360 million in 2015. Topping the list is money allocated for construction, followed by monies needed for major maintenance projects.

New York City Schools: The city’s DOE is proposing a $12.8 billion capital plan for FY2015 through 2019. The plan features the following investments: $4.4 billion for capacity ($3.3 billion for new capacity, $210 million for pre-kindergarten initiative, $490 million for class-size reduction, $400 million for a facility replacement program); $4.9 billion for capital investment ($3.3 billion for the Capital Improvement Program that includes exterior and interior building upgrades and other necessary capital repairs, $1.6 billion for school enhancement projects; $3.5 billion for mandated programs such as remediation and code compliance.

Maryland: The funds available for the Public School Construction Capital Improvement Program for fiscal year 2015 total $325.3 million. This includes $221 million for major construction projects and $93 million for systemic renovation projects.

Washington: On July 15, Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn announced the release of nearly $213 million in capital construction money to school districts throughout the state of Washington. The money, coupled with nearly $381 million in local school district funds, will bring more than $594 million into the state’s economy through school construction.

And the list goes on. With good news on consumer spending, the market, jobs reports and state initiatives like this, it appears that 2015 is going to be a much better year than we have seen in a while!

This article originally appeared in the August 2014 issue of School Planning & Management.

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