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Sacramento City Unified School District Maintenance

    Subject of Investigation

    The Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) provides education services to 49,000 students located in a number of facilities. The District is governed by a seven-member elected school board and managed by an appointed superintendent.

    Reason for Investigation

    The 1994-1995 Grand Jury found that the SCUSD had failed to provide safe, decent school facilities for many of its students-our children. The 1995-1996 Grand Jury continued to monitor the activities of the SCUSD and its responses to the recommendation of the prior Grand Jury.

    Procedures

    The Jury conducted a study of school site maintenance at SCUSD schools. A school site evaluation checklist was developed to provide a guide for the assessment of each site. Whenever possible, the unannounced evaluation consisted of an interview with the school principal, followed by an interview and a walkthrough of the facility with the plant manager, custodian or the principal. Teachers, students and other school staff offered insight and observations about maintenance and safety needs.

    Findings

    The investigating teams found conditions largely unchanged from those reported by the previous Grand Jury. Each school site has its own unique problems and not all problems identified were found at all sites. Some of the problems are minor issues, while others involve the safety of our children. Among the deficiencies found by this Grand Jury:

    · Leaky roofs that have damaged books, equipment, carpet and floors

    · Missing or non-working drinking fountains

    · Broken windows

    · Destroyed doors

    · Rest rooms with no towels or soap

    · Non-functioning or poorly functioning air conditioning

    · A boarded up fire exit

    · Unsafe walkways with loose boards and protruding nails

    · Missing ceiling and floor tiles

    · Extremely poor lighting in some classrooms

    · Leaking faucets at lab tables.

    · Insufficient facilities for persons with disabilities

    · A school with no lockers because too many have been damaged or destroyed

    · Torn carpet, damaged walls, peeling paint, and damaged wallpaper

    · Damaged roofs over walkways

    · Work orders are not responded to in a timely manner, in some cases, for years

    · Peeling outside paint

    · Graffiti damaged windows and walls

    The 1995-1996 Adopted Budget of the Sacramento City Unified School District on page 16 states:

    The Deferred Maintenance Fund, budgeted at $1.4 million, is used for the ongoing maintenance of school facilities, including major repair or replacement of plumbing, heating, air conditioning, electrical, roofing, floor systems and the exterior and interior painting of school buildings.

    The Grand Jury finds that $1.4 million is totally inadequate for a school district with 49,000 students, 59 elementary schools, 9 middle schools, 6 high schools, 2 continuation high schools and 4 adult education centers and a total budget in excess of $250 million. This amounts to less than $29 a year per student.

    In its response to the previous Grand Jury's report on School Maintenance the Sacramento City Unified School District Board of Education made the following statement,

    Every year for the last fifteen years or better, the Sacramento City Unified School District Board has been faced most often with declining resources because of declining enrollment or because of lack of COLAs or inadequate COLAs to meet the other demands of cost increases. Board members

    made conscientious decisions to allocate funds in accordance with what they perceived to be the highest priorities. That being the case, there was always something left undone. Board members had to anguish over the cuts that had to be made in order to keep those cuts as far away from the classroom as possible. Sacramento City Unified, as in most districts, cut regular and deferred maintenance funding In order to save teachers and other staff positions who deal directly with children.

    The Grand Jury concludes that by cutting back on routine and deferred maintenance the School Board has jeopardized the assets of the District, the
    Recommendations

    The Grand Jury recommends that:

    · A long-range financial plan be developed to meet realistic maintenance requirements

    · The School Board make public its roof replacement schedule and how it is to be funded

    · SCUSD provide information on its fully-automated work order system and how it has improved response time

    · SCUSD contract with a qualified building inspector to examine all instances of dry rot and wood degradation at each school site

    · SCUSD provide an update of how they are complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act

    · The Sacramento City Unified School District Board Members tour all school sites at least once a year

    Response Required

    The Penal Code requires responses to the recommendations contained in this report be submitted to the Presiding Judge of the Sacramento County Superior and Municipal Courts by September 30, 1996, from:

    Sacramento City Unified School District Board of Education

1995/96 Sacramento County Grand Jury - Final Report (Internet Version) June 30, 1996

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