The assessment tool will help gauge the health and safety of school facilities.

State releases online tool to help schools evaluate facilities

Jarek RutzHeadlines, Education

The assessment tool will help gauge the health and safety of school facilities.

The Delaware Department of Education released a new tool to establish an evaluation and assessment system to determine whether a school facility is in good repair. 

The facility assessment tool will help school districts review and assess conditions in a standardized way. 

Structured like a rubric, the assessments will help identify areas in need of attention, so school facilities are clean, safe and functional for staff and students.

Here’s an example of some of the questions that will help schools determine the health of their facilities:

The evaluation is broken up into categories like plumbing, mold and mildew, roofs, gas leaks, water quality, fire safety and more.

Attached to each category are questions pertaining to a facility component, and a severity index of minor, moderate or major. 

For example, next to the electrical section, questions touch on whether there are problems or inadequacies with exterior lighting, as well as whether the electrical system is outdated, undersized or otherwise problematic.

The release of this evaluation tool is particularly timely as five school districts head to referendum this year to increase local revenue through taxes and for state-matching funds.

RELATED: 5 school districts to hold tax hike referenda in 2024

Many of the projects the districts are seeking funding for deal with deferred maintenance, or facility repairs and upkeep. 

One of those districts is Colonial, which was approved for $122 million for maintenance and improvements on all of the district’s 13 school buildings. 

The revenue raised in the referendum will help the district upgrade and renovate the parking lots, roofs, ADA accessible playgrounds, sidewalks, athletic facilities and lighting installments to sports fields.

The facility assessment tool will be provided to all 19 districts to allow them to begin using it. They are required to provide the assessments to the Department of Education in May each year, along with a board-approved repair and maintenance plan.  

The tool allows for basic school information, including address and building size, to be confirmed or updated so the education department’s information is complete and accurate.  

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