Study: Districts spend too much on old schools

Report ranks schools' maintenance

CARLSBAD, N.M. (KRQE) – A new state study shows New Mexico schools are in bad shape.

It found more than 70 percent of districts are spending too much money on old buildings.

The Facilities Maintenance Assessment Report ranks districts either poor, marginal, satisfactory or good.

The lower the ranking, the more money the district has spent to maintain and repair buildings.

“The older that a building is, the more maintenance that’s required,” said Public Schools Facilities Authority Director Bob Gorrell. “The more maintenance that is required, the more operating dollars have to be diverted to those schools.”

Gorrell says in a lot of cases, schools have to spend more money on repairs which cuts into funding for students, books and teachers.

Albuquerque schools are marginal, meaning their school facilities barely exceed the minimum requirements.

The Carlsbad school district ranked poor, meaning buildings need immediate improvement.

The report says if schools stay the way they are now, student safety could be at risk.

Carlsbad has some of the oldest schools in the state, some built 90 years ago, and the superintendent says his staff is doing what they can to keep things up to code.

“Every dollar that goes into these 50-, 60-, 70-year-old schools is money that we can’t use at other schools,” said Carlsbad Schools Superintendent Gary Perkowski. “We just need to replace these and get some new schools in Carlsbad.”

On Tuesday, the city of Carlsbad is holding a special bond election to address the issue. If passed, the district would get $60 million to build four new schools.

The authority says most public school facilities only have a 40- to 50-year cycle. They think districts could save $27 million if they adopt new maintenance strategies.