America’s public schools have long been confronted with financial challenges, but the need for proper funding has become even more apparent in the face of a pandemic and an aging infrastructure. HPM’s Vice President of Planning Services Tracy Richter recently joined host Larry Jacobs of Education Talk Radio to discuss the creative solutions he believes are key to solving these issues.
“The federal funding in the last 20 years has been about two percent of infrastructure improvements and that has come from FEMA when the federal government appropriately stood up and said we need to help rebuild,” Richter said. “But I don’t think we need to wait on natural disasters or pandemics to really pay attention to these issues.”
Instead, school districts should be in a constant state of planning, utilizing new program management technologies like Geographic Info Systems and cost-estimating software that strengthens transparency and provides a more accurate funding target.
“Good planning is the first step that must be taken,” Richter said. “When school boards are informed and reach out to their communities and involve them in a transparent way in every step of the data, the communities become informed from a bigger perspective than just ‘hey, we’re growing, our conditions are bad, or we need to consolidate,’ which ends up dominating the conversation instead of a holistic conversation about how one impacts the other.”
A recording of this episode of Education Talk Radio is available below. If you recognize that it’s time to update your facility plan or would like more information on how to do so, let’s work together on a customized approach.