Posted on 06/01/2017

What Public School Facility Managers Can Teach TaxpayersHow much do taxpayers know about the condition of school facilities in their district?

Often, residents are confronted with the reality of facility capital projects only when they’re expected to vote on bond measures, or when they’re directly impacted by insufficient infrastructure or school closures.

As stewards of public funds, K-12 schools have a need for transparency. In order to be accountable to the public, schools need to share facility data in a way that makes sense to the public.

Through a portal available to the public, the Colorado Department of Education displays facility information related to the condition and adequacy of Colorado K-12 public schools.

Colorado Department of Education - Facility Insight Portal
Colorado Department of Education - Facility Insight Portal

Watch “Building an Environment for Student Success” – a webinar recording on how the Colorado Department of Education approaches facility adequacy studies.

Facilities and the Impact on Student Learning Environment

Classroom and learning time can be lost due to lack of air conditioning, ventilation issues, and other facilities-related problems. Many studies have pointed to the correlation between the adequacy of a school facility and its impact on student outcomes. Student health, safety, and attention can be affected by school facility factors such as:

  • building age and condition
  • maintenance
  • temperature
  • lighting
  • air quality

The funding levels sufficient for K-12 and other institutions to meet education quality goals is a challenge that many states and districts grapple with, especially with tight budget allocations.

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) supports more than 1,800 schools in the state’s 178 school districts. Using VFA portfolio assessment and capital planning tools, CDE can guide their state’s public school facility managers on educational adequacy standards.

With VFA software, CDE evaluates:

  • Can our facilities support our mission?
  • Do we have the right amount of learning spaces in our facilities?
  • What’s the long-term solution for our overall portfolio and/or individual buildings?

See how the Colorado Department of Education guides their state’s public school facility managers on educational adequacy standards – get the webinar recording.

Driven by an initiative by the Colorado state legislature, CDE runs a program called Facility Insight. This program created the Facility Insight Portal powered by VFA facility capital budgeting and planning – CDE has made K-12 school facility information publicly available.

This public portal is intended to support CDE’s Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant program which provides annual funding in the form of competitive grants to school districts, charter schools, institute charter schools, etc. These funds can then be used for the construction of new schools as well as general construction and renovation of existing school facility systems and structures.

Accruent’s VFA team works in conjunction with the Facility Insight program helping to report accurate and consistent data for every public school in Colorado. This data is used as a statewide resource for capital planning. With an accurate statewide inventory of all school facilities, the state can make informed decisions when evaluating BEST grant applications for school facilities.