School District of Philadelphia – Review of Facilities Conditions 2008

Audit Date: May 6, 2008
Audit Categories
  • Investigation
Controller: Alan Butkovitz

Executive Summary

Why the City Controller’s Office Conducted this Facilities Review

In December 2002, the School District of Philadelphia (“School District” or “District”) unveiled an extremely aggressive $1.5 billion five (5)-year capital improvement program for the fiscal years 2003 to 2007. Major components of the announced program included
certain internal and external organizational changes deemed necessary to properly manage and implement the plan. The stated goals of this initiative include:

• Improving high school options;
• Phasing out middle schools;
• Alleviating elementary school overcrowding; and,
• Bringing school facilities to a state of good repair.

Since that time, the School District has developed successive capital plans which include revised time schedules and budgets. The five (5)-year capital improvement program budget for the fiscal years 2008 to 2012 has increased to approximately $2 billion. In
addition, the District has revised some of the specific projects included in its capital improvement plans.

The District has approximately 300 school buildings located throughout the city. The maintenance and cleaning of these buildings is the responsibility of the School District. The Controller’s Office conducted this school facilities review as part of our ongoing audit of the School District’s capital assets. The objective of this review was to determine whether the District’s school facilities are being maintained in a satisfactory manner, and to assess the extent to which the current facilities conditions provide a safe, comfortable, and conducive learning environment for students, faculty and the community.

What the City Controller’s Office Found

Generally, the conditions identified at schools included potential asbestos exposure, electrical hazards, fire safety hazards, mechanical equipment problems, broken or nonfunctional equipment, structural issues, broken window panes, windows that do not open, cracked and peeling paint, hazards for tripping or falling, and dirty or unsightly conditions for the school students, staff and surrounding residents.