What is in this article?:
- 38th Annual Maintenance & Operations Cost Study for Schools
- Total number of buildings in district
- Maintenance & Operations Costs (Expressed in median dollars per FTE student)
- Maintenance & Operations Costs (Expressed in median dollars per square foot)
- Total gross area of buildings maintained
- Total gross area of grounds maintained
- Total maintenance and operations expenditures
- How the M&O budget is split
- Privatizing M&O
- Green Cleaning in Schools
- M&O expenditures over the past 20 years
- Amount spent annually on transportation
- Number of full-time maintenance, custodial and grounds staff
- Salary data for custodial and maintenance personnel
- More Schools M&O data
Despite the worst economic environment in generations, spending by K-12 institutions on maintenance and operations (M&O) held its own — defying historical trends that have shown M&O spending among the most affected in times of budget tightening.
According to data collected for American School & University's 38th annual Maintenance & Operations Cost Study, the median school district allocated 9.57 percent of total district expenditures (TDE) to M&O in the 2008-09 school year. This is an increase over last year, and much better than the abnormally low percentages reported earlier in the decade.
Whether a reflection of when data was collected (data reported is for the 2008-09 school year and reflects budgets passed prior to the escalation of the economic crisis) or that M&O budgets have suffered so much over the years that most operations already are “bare bones” and further reductions would cause crippling results, only time will tell.
However, school district operations remain under pressure. For example, although energy expenditures saw some relief, custodial staff is being tasked with more responsibility. With a median of 32,100 square feet maintained per full-time custodian (an almost 20 percent increase over last year's amount), facility directors must look continually for ways to improve productivity so that staff can work smarter, safer and more efficiently.
The following pages include data 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. Numerous factors — 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.
For those looking for additional data, select the links below the Web Exclusive icon that will direct you to exclusive data not found in the print version on M&O expenditures and operations at our nation's school districts.
To arrive at data for the 38th annual AS&U Maintenance & Operations Cost Study, a detailed questionnaire was mailed in January 2009 to chief business officials and directors of facilities at the nation's public school districts asking them to document their institutions' M&O expenditures per student and per square foot for the 2008-09 school year.
Per student: Based on total district enrollment (average daily attendance as of October 2008).
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 2008-09 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.