$3.7 Billion in Improvements Needed for KY Schools

A new report on the condition of roughly a third of public school buildings in Kentucky estimates that total repair and improvement needs would cost $3.7 billion dollars. Department of Education spokeswoman Lisa Gross says evaluations were conducted at 477 buildings across the state.

"They looked at the school's actual physical condition. They looked at its educational suitability, which means does it provide the things that students need to have a really robust learning experience. And they also looked at technology readiness, whether or not a school building was wired for Internet and e-mail access, does it have wireless capability?"

The Department of Education used to gauge the condition of school buildings on a scale of 1-5, but a measure passed by state lawmakers last year called for a more detailed assessment. The new report covers buildings that previously fell in the category of 3 or 4.

The down economy has affected the ability of school districts to pay for facility projects.

"If a school district wants to build a new school building, for example, it has to be able to issue bonds in order to pull in some local money for those facilities. There is state money available, but usually that money is not going to cover the full cost of building a new building," says Gross.

For this assessment, John Adair Intermediate School in Adair County ranked the worst with a score of 11.6 out of 100 for physical condition. Click here [PDF] to view the complete list.

Gross says lawmakers and local school leaders will use the data to prioritize funding decisions.