United States schools’ disrepair

United States school in disrepair

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Report counts cost of schools’ disrepair

Tuesday 12 March 2013

by Our Foreign Desk

Schools in the United States are in such disrepair that it would cost more than $270 billion (£181bn) just to get elementary and secondary school buildings back to their original conditions and twice that to get them up to date, the Centre for Green Schools estimated today.

In a foreword to the centre’s report, former president Bill Clinton admitted that “we are still struggling to provide equal opportunity” to children and urged the first federal study of school buildings in almost two decades.

Mr Clinton and the centre called for a government assessment of what it would take to get schools up to date to help students learn and keep teachers healthy.

Researchers have estimated that schools spent somewhere in the region of $211bn (£141bn) on upkeep between 1995 and 2008.

But the group also calculated that during that same time schools should have spent $482bn (£323bn), leaving a gaping $271bn gap between what should have been spent and what actually had been.

To update and modernise the buildings the figure doubles to $542bn (£364bn) over the next decade.

Horror stories abound about schools with leaking roofs, failing plumbing and windows that do little to stop wind.

“Would you send your kids or grandkids to one of these schools?” asked National Education Association president Dennis Van Roekel, who supported the report along with the 21st Century School Fund, the American Federation of Teachers, the American Lung Association and the National PTA.

In most cases, schools are funded by local property taxes and the National Centre for Education Statistics has found large disparities between schools in poor and more affluent areas.

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