The Facilities Master Plan recommends capital improvement bond projects that improve the physical environment for students, teachers, and families for many years. These projects ensure the creation of safe, comfortable spaces for all students, while also providing facilities that support the LCAP’s guiding principle to “improve outcomes for all students and close the significant performance gaps between student groups.”
“Sacramento City Unified School District is committed to giving all students an equal opportunity to graduate with the greatest number of postsecondary choices from the widest array of options. SCUSD has evaluated the condition of all of its school sites and identified significant school facility improvement needs, estimated at over $3.5 billion.”
Source: Measure H Bond Language, approved March 2020
The $750 million school facility improvement bond “would require a clear system of accountability to the public including a project list detailing exactly how the money will be used [through] the development of internal District equity indices to help identify funding priorities based on level of need.”
Source: Board of Education Resolution 3113, approved November 2019
Listening to parents, vested stakeholders, and community champions, while centering the voices of those adversely affected by facility decisions in the past, is key to the overall success of the capital improvement program. Qualitative data information is garnered through co-building workshops and dialogues at the local level.
These insights and lived experiences reveal a lack of trust from historic and current inequities. Through facilitated workshops with the equity team, the participants developed four equity-based principles to guide facility projects.
Four Principles Developed by the Core Planning Group
Ensure that the voices of students, parents, and community members are heard.
Utilize student, neighborhood, and school site demographic data.
Align Facilities plan with the goals of the LCAP.
Consider FCI and Visionary projects when selecting projects for renewal.
Campus assessments identify immediate health and safety risks, elements not meeting accessibility requirements, and all buildings and site conditions that will be deficient soon. They identify spaces, furniture, and resources in the learning environments that are inadequate. And they identify energy upgrades and infrastructure needed for future readiness.
Each facility is objectively measured by its Facilities Condition Index or “FCI.” FCI is the projected cost of deferred maintenance for the next ten years divided by the current replacement value. Conditions requiring immediate attention include observed or reported unsafe conditions, unreliable system performance (roof, HVAC, etc.), “trip and fall hazards” and ADA compliance, and other unsafe environmental conditions, such as water or air quality.
Educational specifications outline the District’s vision for the learning environment. Workshops, focus groups, and interviews guide the visioning process. Educators, program experts, district leadership, and campus experts initiated the discovery of challenges, root causes, and assets to achieving the vision.
These insights guide the research-based design strategies which comprise the six “educational petals,” including Learning Environments, Inquiry and Experiential Learning, Individualized Support, Fitness and Athletics, Safety and Security, Dining Experience and Nutrition. Each campus is assessed for the degree to which it does or does not meet each petal, and from these, given an overall score.
Quantitative data provides a set of guiding principles for making equity informed funding decisions.
The campus assessments reveal a list of facility needs that exceed $3.5B over 10 years. Measure H, the District’s $750M capital improvement bond, provides a good start towards the goal of modernizing and replacing schools and District facilities.
However, because needs far exceed available funds, prioritizing projects in ways that best support the District’s mission and vision will be critical. This situation is not unique to Sacramento City, many school districts in California and around the country face similar challenges.
For each “Vision” project recommended by the Project Priority Methodology, an interactive dashboard details the research-informed and campus-specific facility improvements that will provide students and communities with a learning environment that meets the District’s design standards for all six “educational petals.”
Recommended facility funding and estimated total cost for projects based on facility conditions that may lead to District liability or other risk factors, as well as projects based on the equity index addressing education petals that are not meeting the District’s vision for the learning environment.
If you are new to the facilities planning and the web tool, then we suggest starting with the insights and planning principles developed from the workshops and dialogues.
Facility Master Plan and this prioritization process and protocol are living documents, which provide District officials with the ability to adjust the plan over time to respond to new data, changing conditions, updated strategic plans, and revitalized directions from the Board of Education and Superintendent.
Accountability for equitable student outcomes
To ensure ongoing consistency in the approach to facility resource allocations, the SCUSD staff are fully committed to regularly assessing the plan implementation process, evaluating the prioritization process, and developing systematized procedures for obtaining stakeholder feedback - all of which will help inform future processes and plan adjustments.