Because routine and unexpected maintenance demands are bound to arise, every education organization must proactively develop and implement a plan for dealing with these inevitabilities. A sound facilities maintenance plan helps to ensure that school facilities are, and will be, cared for appropriately. Negligent facilities maintenance planning can result in real problems. Large capital investments can be squandered when buildings and equipment deteriorate or warranties are invalidated. Failure to maintain school facilities adequately also discourages future investment in the public education system.
However, school facilities maintenance is concerned about more than just resource management. It is about providing clean and safe environments for children. It is also about creating a physical setting that is appropriate and adequate for learning. A classroom with broken windows and cold drafts doesn't foster effective learning. But neither does an apparently state-of-the-art school that is plagued with uncontrollable swings in indoor temperature.
This Planning Guide is designed for staff at the local school district level, where most facility maintenance is planned, managed, and carried out. This audience includes school business officials, school board members, superintendents, principals, facilities maintenance planners, maintenance staff, and custodial staff. The document is also relevant to the school facilities interests of state education agency staff, community groups, vendors, and regulatory agencies.
The Planning Guide has been developed to help readers better understand why and how to develop, implement, and evaluate a facilities maintenance plan. It focuses on:
school facility maintenance as a vital task in the responsible management of an education organization
the needs of an education audience
strategies and procedures for planning, implementing, and evaluating effective maintenance programs
a process to be followed, rather than a canned set of "one size fits all" solutions
recommendations based on "best practices," rather than mandates
The document offers recommendations on the following important issues, which serve as chapter headings:
Introduction to School Facilities Maintenance Planning
Planning for School Facilities Maintenance
Facilities Audits (Knowing What You Have)
Providing a Safe Environment for Learning
Maintaining School Facilities and Grounds
Effectively Managing Staff and Contractors
Evaluating Facilities Maintenance Efforts
The Planning Guide for Maintaining School Facilities is the product of the National Cooperative Education Statistics System and the collaboration of the National Forum on Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/forum) and the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO(r)) (http://www.asbointl.org). The project was sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)(http://nces.ed.gov), U.S. Department of Education. Roger Young (firstname.lastname@example.org), Haverhill (MA) Public Schools, chaired the Forum's School Facility Maintenance Task Force, which was charged with developing the document. Lee Hoffman managed the project for the National Center for Education Statistics.
This document is available electronically at no cost via the World Wide Web at http://nces.ed.gov/forum/publications.asp. One free copy of the Planning Guide for Maintaining School Facilities can be ordered from the U.S. Department of Education's ED PUBS Online Ordering System at http://www.EDpubs.gov/ or 877-4-ED-PUBS. Multiple copies can be ordered for a fee at the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov/ or 888-293-6498. For more information about this Planning Guide or other free resources from the National Forum on Education Statistics and the National Center for Education Statistics, visit http://nces.ed.gov/.
Facilities problems affect teaching and learning, student and staff health, day-to-day building operations, and the long-range fiscal health of the entire education organization. To some peoples surprise, facilities problems are less a function of geography or socioeconomics and more directly related to staff levels, training, and practicesall of which can be controlled by the organization. Thus, every school district should plan to meet the challenges of effective facilities maintenance. It is simply too big and too important of a job to be addressed haphazardly.