Know-How: Maintenance

March 1, 2006
Schools can be recognized for managing maintenance programs effectively.

With billions of dollars in deferred maintenance, shrinking budgets and aging facilities, the nation's education institutions struggle against the tide as they try to keep their buildings safe and in good condition.

One way for schools to improve their maintenance efforts, even in a climate of growing needs and declining resources, is to manage their maintenance programs more effectively.

“A sound facilities maintenance plan helps to ensure that school facilities are, and will be, cared for appropriately,” says the “Planning Guide for Maintaining School Facilities,” a 184-page document put together by the National Forum on Education Statistics and the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) International. It is available on the World Wide Web at

ASBO has teamed with to create an awards program for schools that are doing an exemplary job managing their maintenance programs. The Facilities Masters Award recognizes school districts that are meeting national standards for excellence in facilities and maintenance operations. The foundation of the program includes best practices established in the “Planning Guide for Maintaining School Facilities.”

“The purposes of the Facilities Masters Award program are to improve the maintenance of school facilities, to promote best facilities maintenance practices, to help build the skills of school business officials and plant managers, and to recognize school districts that have achieved the highest standards in facilities maintenance,” says Roger Young, chairman of ASBO's School Facilities Management Committee and assistant superintendent in the Manchester-Essex (Mass.) Regional School District.

School systems applying for the award are asked to submit a summary that describes their level of commitment to a facilities-management program and how they deal with the following six categories: facilities maintenance planning, facility audit, environmental safety, maintenance and managing, evaluating facilities maintenance efforts, and exemplary practices.

ASBO's website also has a checklist ( that covers the same six categories. The list poses more than 150 questions about a school's maintenance program to aid an institution in compiling a detailed assessment of its maintenance operations.

ASBO also has identified several school maintenance administrators that have agreed to serve as mentors to help institutions applying for the award to complete the process correctly.

The entry fee for the program is $500 for ASBO members and $700 for non-members. Applications for the awards are due April 1, according to ASBO.



Percentage of the life-cycle cost of a building attributed to construction.


Percentage of the life-cycle cost of a building attributed to operations.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, “Planning Guide for Maintaining School Facilities”

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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