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Facilities Information Management: A Guide for State and Local Education Agencies
  Introductory Material
Chapter 1
  Purpose and Scope
Chapter 2
   Customizing a School Facilities Data System
Chapter 3
   Using Data Elements for Analysis
Chapter 4
   Facility Data Elements
Chapter 5
   Resources and Connections
Calculated Data Elements
PDF File (578 KB)

Illustration of a building and a crane
Introductory Material

Members of the Education Facilities Data Task Force
Task Force Chair
Patricia Murphy, Budget Administrator
Utah State Office of Education
Salt Lake City, Utah
Task Force Members
Louis Ferratier, Principal Fiscal Consultant
School Construction Services
Illinois State Board of Education
Springfield, Illinois
John Fink, District Planner
Oklahoma City Public Schools
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Engin Konanc, Chief Consultant
Statistical Research and Data Center
North Carolina Department of Public
Raleigh, North Carolina
William Porter, Administrator, Program Support
New Hampshire Department of Education
Concord, New Hampshire
Robert Rodosky, Executive Director
Accountability, Research, and Planning
Jefferson County Public Schools
Louisville, Kentucky
Robert Thomas, Assistant Superintendent
Finance and Human Resources
Knox County Schools
Knoxville, Tennessee
Principal Consulting Author
Mary Filardo, Executive Director
The 21st Century School Fund
Washington, DC
Contract Officer
Lee Hoffman, Program Director
National Center for Education Statistics
U.S. Department of Education
Washington, DC
Oona Cheung, Former Project Director
Jinhee Lee, Project Associate
Deborah Newby, Project Director
Council of Chief State School Officers
Washington, DC


This Guide was developed through the contributions from many individuals representing a wide array of local, state, and national organizations. Without their time and attention it would not have been possible to obtain the broad input needed for such a guide.

The Task Force thanks the staff under contract from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) at the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Oona Cheung, formerly with CCSSO, managed this project and researched and wrote drafts of the handbook. Tiffany Lee and John Tai, formerly with CCSSO, provided research and technical support for the Task Force. During the final stages of the handbook development, Jinhee Lee of CCSSO coordinated the review process and publication arrangements. The Task Force would also like to acknowledge the work of Mary Filardo, executive director of the 21st Century School Fund, for contributing her expertise to the Task Force as well as researching and writing the final document. Lee Hoffman of NCES served as the Project Officer.

The Guide benefited from various perspectives of education facilities from individuals who attended the task force meetings and shared their knowledge and expertise with the Task Force. These individuals include Jose Johnson, formerly with the Texas Education Agency; Duwayne Brookes, California Department of Education; Roger Young, Haverhill Public Schools; Annette Barwick, Hillsborough County School District; Frank Johnson, NCES; Tim Magner, formerly with the Schools Interoperability Framework; Barbara Andrepont, formerly with the Louisiana Department of Education; Curtis Shaw, Austin Independent School District; Gregg Smith, Salt Lake City School District; Gary Payne, Davis County School District; Larry Newton, Utah State Office of Education; Jeff Rose, State of Utah; Steve Crane, Valentiner, Crane, Brunjes & Onyon Architects, PC; and Michael Roberts, Salt Lake City Police Department.

The Task Force appreciates the individuals from local, state, and national education agencies, associations, and private businesses who reviewed the document and provided helpful feedback. These reviewers include Blake Haselton, Oldham County Public Schools, Kentucky; Shirley Lauterback, Oldham County Middle School, Kentucky; Barney McCulloch, McCulloch and Associates; James P. Ewalt, Oldham County Public Schools, Kentucky; Melinda Fowler, Texas Education Agency; Michael A. Mulheim, Jefferson County Public Schools, Kentucky; Frank Norwoord, Katy Independent School District, Texas; William DeJong, DeJong and Associates; Thomas Szuba, Jr., Consultant; Judy Marks, National Clearinghouse on Education Facilities; David A. Uhlig, Charlottesville City Schools, Virginia; Sarah Woodhead, District of Columbia Public Schools; Sue Robertson, Facilities Planning Alliance, North Carolina; John Bowers, Consultant; Christopher Lyons, U.S. Department of Education; and Katie Simons and Deborah Newby, CCSSO.

Finally, the Task Force would like to thank the members of the National Forum on Education Statistics and the National Education Statistics Agenda Committee for their continued support and guidance throughout the development of the Guide.

Content Contact:

Lee Hoffman
(202) 502-7356

The information and opinions published here are the product of the National Forum on Education Statistics and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the U.S. Department of Education or the National Center for Education Statistics.

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The National Forum on Education Statistics (the Forum) is pleased to release this Guide, the latest in a series of publications designed to promote good practices relating to the collection, maintenance, and use of education data. The work was supported by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). As the statistics agency for the U.S. Department of Education, NCES maintains a cooperative education statistics system with the states to improve the quality, comparability, and uniformity of elementary and secondary school data. The Forum members are states, school districts, and other institutions that are major providers or consumers of education data. The Forum’s goal is to encourage cooperative data improvement at all levels of education governance.

In 1997, the Forum published Basic Data Elements for Elementary and Secondary Education Information Systems. That document recommended a set of basic data elements about students and school staff that, if maintained at the school, district, and state levels in a standardized format, would give decision makers comparable information upon which to base policy for promoting effective education. Other recent publications of the Forum include:

As part of its ongoing effort to promote data-driven educational policy decision-making, the Forum formed the Education Facilities Data Task Force. This Task Force met over a period of 3 years to identify and define the basic data elements related to public school facilities. It also identified a framework of indicators to answer important policy questions relating to the condition, design, utilization, management, and funding of school facilities. The Task Force’s efforts culminated in this publication.

It is our hope that this Guide will contribute to the development of valid and comparable information on school facilities that will support the drafting of legislation, policy-making, research, and dissemination of information to government agencies, funding sources, and the general public.

Patricia Murphy, Budget Administrator
Utah State Office of Education and
Chair, Education Facilities Data Task Force,
National Forum on Education Statistics


There are 96,000 public schools in the United States governed by 17,000 school districts in 50 states and the extra-state jurisdictions. Facilities planners and school district officials at the local level often do not have data systems that support the complex and demanding responsibilities of decision-making, planning, management, oversight, and funding of school buildings. Moreover, even when facilities data at the building level are maintained at the school or district level, these data may not be available to state education agencies. Thus, there is a “missing link” between the information maintained by facilities managers in school districts and the information needed for policy planning and implementation at the state and national level.

Within a district over time, as well as at the state level, facilities data and information are often maintained inconsistently. The data may be collected and organized in various formats, or different definitions may be used for the same terms. Therefore, while many states conduct facilities assessments, it is hard to generalize findings across states. Moreover, some states conduct facilities studies on a regular basis, while others use ad hoc surveys that assess specific needs but may not support future information needs.1 Without consistently defined indicators, policy makers cannot accurately assess the amount of funding needed for school construction, where funds for new schools are most needed, or whether funds are being spent efficiently or equitably.

This Guide has been developed to provide a framework for decision makers, school facility managers, and the public to identify a basic set of school facilities data elements, including definitions that will meet their information needs. Chapter 1 describes the purpose, scope, and intended audiences for this Guide. Chapter 2 describes how to use this Guide to develop a customized information system, including how the facilities data should link to other data systems. Chapter 3 examines some key measures—such as school utilization, functional age, deferred maintenance, and expenditures per student—and discusses the challenges in standardizing the definitions of these terms. Chapter 4 lists hundreds of facility data elements, including standard definitions and “options,” categorized into six sections: identification, condition, design, utilization, management, and budget and finance. Chapter 5 identifies additional resources, including sources for data elements and their definitions, that will be helpful to those involved in compiling school facilities data.


1 Tiffanie Lee and Oona Cheung, An Analysis of State Collection and Reporting on School Facilities Data, Working Draft (Washington, DC: Council of Chief State School Officers, 1998).

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