What is in this article?:
- 37th Annual Maintenance & Operations Cost Study for Schools
- Maintenance & Operations Costs (Expressed in median dollars per student)
- Maintenance & Operations Costs (Expressed in median dollars per square foot)
- Total gross area of buildings maintained
- M&O expenditures — the past 20 years
- Total gross area of grounds maintained
- Personnel update
- Privatizing M&O
- Total maintenance and operations expenditures
- Square-footage details
- Salary update
As tough economic conditions and rapidly rising costs continue to strain school district budgets, spending by K-12 institutions on maintenance and operations (M&O) faces growing pressure.
The median school district allocated a smaller percentage of total district expenditures (TDE) to M&O in 2007-08 — 8.35 percent, down from 9.19 percent the year before, according to American School & University's 37th annual Maintenance and Operations Cost Study. While lower, the 8.35 percent of TDE still is higher than the percentages allocated throughout much of the decade.
As noted last year, spending on energy/utilities remains high, reflecting skyrocketing costs to operate facilities. Rising prices also are forcing available funds to be redirected from other areas. For example, maintenance staff is being required to “do more with less” — the square footage maintained per full-time custodial worker jumped 14 percent to 26,786 from 23,408 the year before.
Following are findings from the latest M&O Cost Study that can help you in benchmarking expenditures at your institution. Data provided reflect actual spending by school districts on M&O and are not intended to be “ideal” amounts for allocations. Numerous factors — such as age and overall condition of buildings, the labor market in your area, climate, etc. — also will affect your costs when compared with the national medians.
To arrive at data for the AS&U Maintenance & Operations Cost Study, a detailed questionnaire was mailed in October 2007 to chief business officials at the nation's public school districts asking them to document their institutions' M&O expenditures per student and per square foot for the 2007-08 school year. Categories include:
Per student: Based on total district enrollment (average daily attendance as of October 2007).
Per square foot: Based on total gross area of all district buildings maintained, including corridors, offices and common space.
Total district expenditures (TDE): Amounts for the 2007-08 school year.
Total maintenance and operations (M&O) expenditures: Including salaries, benefits, outside contracts, utilities, energy, trash collection/disposal, equipment and supplies, etc., for custodial, maintenance and grounds.
Custodial: Those individuals responsible for building upkeep and cleaning.
Maintenance: Those individuals who perform skilled jobs, such as HVAC, electrical or plumbing repair.
Grounds: Those individuals responsible for landscape upkeep and maintenance.
Payroll: Including benefits.
Average salary: Annualized, excluding benefits.
Outside contract labor: Those hired for specialized jobs to maintain or repair building systems or equipment, such as HVAC maintenance or repair.
Energy: Including gas, electricity and other fuels used to operate facilities.
Utilities: Including water, telephone, etc.
Other: Most often identified as clerical costs, equipment repair and rental, insurance and travel.