All of ESUSD’s schools were built more than 50 years ago (with some being built decades before that)—all contain outdated and inefficient building systems. There is a direct relationship between quality school facilities and student achievement. Research shows that students and teachers perform best in safe, modern classrooms and schools with up-to-date technology. According to UC Berkeley’s Center for Cities and Schools, under-spending on school facilities comes with great cost: student health and safety are risked, building functionality declines, usable building life is reduced, and educational program delivery is compromised.
“The ESUSD Board of Education and our superintendent recognize the importance of the long-range planning for ESUSD’s school facilities in order to address changes in the district's educational program needs and the district's anticipated short- and long-term facilities needs and priorities,” said Board of Educational President Emilee Layne. “Past governing boards have been good stewards of community resources and have extended the life of our current facilities well. However, educational needs are constantly changing and the importance of up-to-date school buildings today cannot be understated. Our children are competing in a global world, and we as responsible community members must do everything in our power to give them the most ideal learning environment in which to grow and achieve success.”
Three years ago, a rigorous facilities assessment process, with maintenance and operations, leadership at each school site, and the larger community began. To build the District’s Long-Range Facilities Master Plan, ESUSD conducted facility surveys, focus group meetings, school site interviews, formed a steering committee representing the diversity of our community, and hosted two rounds of town hall meetings.
The 2016-2026 Long-Range Facility Master Plan was developed to identify and prioritize ESUSD facility needs, which equal $92 million in modernization and new construction projects over the next ten years district-wide. The plan calls for upgrades to improve overall student safety and campus security. The District brought in safety consultant who validated many of the actions outlined in the plan and the revised plan will include some additional security measures. The plan also includes upgrades to classrooms, science labs, libraries, career training facilities, and instructional technology to support student achievement in core subjects such as math, science, engineering, technology and the arts. There is a need for more flexible, multi-use classrooms to support hands-on science instruction and “learning by doing.” To increase energy efficiency and enhance cost savings for the District, improvement to ventilation, insulation, doors and windows is necessary.
Last May, ESUSD hosted two additional town hall meetings to update the community on the Long-Range Facilities Master Plan. To fund the needs identified in the plan, ESUSD has explored all options including the existing ESUSD budget, state and Federal funding, private grants and other sources of support, and a new local school bond measure. During the El Segundo Unified School District (ESUSD) Board of Education’s regular meeting on July 10, 2018, the Board voted 5 – 0 to place a General Obligation Bond Measure before voters on the November 6, 2018 ballot. The Bond Resolution is available online here: https://bit.ly/2CnmUxD
ESUSD is one of the highest performing districts in the state. All children deserve to learn in quality classrooms and school facilities. Investing in schools is a smart financial decision because quality schools protect property values, and home resale values will benefit as El Segundo’s school facilities are improved. The longer the wait to complete needed ESUSD upgrades, the more expensive the repairs and construction will become. It’s important to note that in the last 20 years, ESUSD has incurred the lowest amount of bond indebtedness compared to other school districts in the South Bay, and ranks at the bottom, No. 12 out of 14 neighboring school districts in Los Angeles. We need to be cutting edge in terms of our learning environments, as well as be on par with progressive schools and neighboring districts.
The El Segundo Unified School District Long Range Facility Master Plan will be used to guide ongoing maintenance and care decisions for district facilities and identify key facility modernization and new construction projects based upon the District’s goals, Boards’ priorities and funding availability. Project designations are considered flexible and the priority level timeline may be adjusted accordingly.
The complete ESUSD Long Range Facility Master Plan is available via the District website at:
Photo credit: Marcy Dugan