hawaiilogodoe Hawaii Department of Education

Database will help Hawaii officials address $868 million school maintenance backlog

Education officials established database after determining that deferred maintenance in schools was a much larger problem.

The Hawaii Department of Education is launching an online database to track an estimated $868 million backlog of repair and maintenance projects in public school facilities.

The Associated Press reports that the database when show when money is appropriated for projects, when it is allocated, when contracts are awarded and how much of the contract has been paid.

Hawaii schools have about 3,800 pending projects in 11 categories. Roofing projects make up the biggest category at $196 million, followed by grounds projects at $185 million, and mechanical, electrical and plumbing projects at $129 million.

The maintenance backlog is much larger what state lawmakers were told earlier this year. At a budget briefing in January, school officials told legislators  that the backlog was $293 million.

The actual size of the backlog was a shock, says state Rep. Sylvia Luke, who chairs the House Finance Committee.

The extent of the backlog was revealed in a facilities review by a new state education department leadership team, says Dann Carlson, assistant superintendent for school facilities and support services. Project information was scattered, and the department lacked an automated system to track funded projects.

“It took us going through our entire system to get this information in one place,” Carlson says.

The online database includes all capital improvement and repair and maintenance projects. A public version is planned to be launched next school year.

“Any of our legislators, any of our board members, any of our school administrators will have access to this information,” Carlson says. “It’s a much more transparent system. People will have the ability to pull that information anytime.”

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