School districts are facing a multitude of problems across the country in the wake of COVID-19. Mask requirements, online learning, and an ever-increasingly smaller budget are putting pressure on many school boards to cut costs wherever possible. And, far too often those funds are being cut from maintenance and new infrastructure budgets to fund seemingly more urgent programs.
This is understandable from the school board and taxpayer’s perspective. Maintenance is already a low priority, and even more so when many parents are opting to do online learning while the school structure remains uncertain. However, this poses a critical opportunity for schools to renovate and maintain the buildings that desperately need the extra TLC.
In 2013, a study of U.S. K-12 schools suggested that it would take over $270B to renovate existing schools across the country to their original condition, or up to $542B to rebuild and modernize these same buildings. Unfortunately, not even the $270B benchmarks were met, as school maintenance budgets are typically slashed rather than raised each year. Now, nearly 10 years later, our schools are struggling to introduce new technologies to their classrooms, let alone find the budgets for modernizing classrooms to meet educational standards. The problem only gets worse with each passing year, and the schools are running out of time to change.
However, we believe now is a prime opportunity for many schools to start rebuilding and investing in modern infrastructure for their campuses. As online earning increases its reach and efficiency, more students are able to take a break from campus and continue with their studies. With fewer students on campus and fewer resources needed for lessons and assignments (as even in-class learning has an integral online component in most cases), there is a golden opportunity for school districts to take advantage.
The question now is whether or not the school districts will do so, or if their hard-pressed budget will remain locked down with lower maintenance budgets each year. At MaintenX, we encourage preventative maintenance services for school campuses to help reduce long-term costs. These preventative care services, coupled with new construction projects, can help schools turn this decade into one of incredible progress.
There is no question that campuses, teachers, and students are struggling right now. However, MaintenX has faith in our communities to take these challenges and turn them into opportunities for the future.