AASA Survey explores the link between school construction and economic stimulation

Schools nationwide are experiencing the effects of hard economic times, and administrators continue to brainstorm ways to improve education while stimulating the economy. In a survey of school superintendents released December 15 by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), nearly 800 participants from 48 states brainstormed for ideas.

The AASA Opportunity for Federal Education Funding Survey resulted in a list of construction and renovation projects that, backed by federal economic stimulus funds, would help address these issues. The superintendents identified $6.52 billion in new construction projects and $4.49 billion in renovation and repair projects for public schools, and also discussed how school districts should spend one-time block-grant funds, should they be provided through an economic stimulus package. Nearly all (99%) identified budget gaps that would benefit from stimulus money and 97% identified short-term projects that could be presented to the bid market in 60-90 days. Respondents chose which project would benefit the most from one-time funds for facilities-related projects from the following options:

• 68% chose building repair
• 59% chose building renovation
• 57% chose security measures
• 46% chose deferred school construction projects

They were also asked to decide which instructional materials would address the stimulus funds:
• 88% said classroom technology
• 63% said classroom equipment/supplies
• 46% said textbooks
• 41% said music education equipment or instruments

With the help of these funds, respondents would address the following professional projects related to development:
• 71% chose technology
• 64% chose classroom instruction
• 47% chose assessment.

Regarding technology-related projects, respondents said they would focus the funds on the following:
• 75% chose machines (computers, printers, etc.)
• 66% chose infrastructure/hardware
• 51% chose software
• 47% chose connectivity